FORT MYERS, Fla. — J.D. Martinez walked into JetBlue Park a few minutes before 8 a.m. Wednesday to get started on his physical. He already has at least one good friend on this Red Sox team.
Martinez played with David Price in Detroit for the second half of the 2014 season and the first half of ’15. The two have stayed in touch, and Price was among those who reached out to Martinez and encouraged him to sign with the Red Sox.
A deal for five years and $110 million was struck Monday. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Sox were still waiting for the final results of Martinez’s physical and had not announced his addition.
“Watching the way he swung the bat, there’s power to all fields,” Price said. “He really took after [Miguel Cabrera’s] approach when he was in Detroit. It did wonders for him.
“He’s going to drive the ball to right field, right-center. If the pitcher makes a mistake with a breaking ball, he’s going to hit it to left field.
“He’s fun to watch, great dude — a really good acquisition.”
Martinez was released by the Houston Astros near the end of spring training in 2014. He then made himself into one of the game’s premier sluggers with hard work.
“Him and Victor [Martinez] would hit all day long,” Price said. “Victor was the DH and J.D. was playing right field. They would get to the field early, hit in the cage, go out for early BP.
“Early BP would be over, they’d go back to the cage. They would have regular BP and be in the cage again before the game. He takes a lot of swings and he’s always working. He turned himself into a really good hitter.”
For the Red Sox, Martinez’s arrival was cause for excitement. Price was among the players who were genuinely happy with the move.
“To add a hitter like that to the lineup, that’s good, especially in this division,” Price said. “The Yankees made moves this offseason. To be able to combat those moves with a guy like J.D., that was a good move.”
Price laughed when asked about the rivalry with the Yankees heating up again.
“Sure, yeah,” Price said. “You guys want it, let’s do it. We hate the Yankees. We hate the Yankees. Hate ’em.”
As for playing in Boston, Price believes Martinez will succeed where he always hasn’t.
“He’s different than me. So it’s good,” Price said. “He’s a good dude. He’s quiet. He’ll go about his business and hit a lot of homers for us.”
New jersey for Cora
Alex Cora asked for No. 28 when he was named manager to honor his older brother, Joey Cora, who played 11 seasons in the majors and is now a coach with the Pirates.
The tribute didn’t last long. Martinez has worn 28 for several years, and Cora happily gave the number up.
“Decided to go with 20. Good-luck charm,” Cora said. “I talked to my brother and he said, ‘Ah, it’s OK. You took care of me for a few days.’ ”
The Sox will host Boston College and Northeastern in a doubleheader Thursday. Chandler Shepherd, Kyle Martin, and Bobby Poyner will pitch against the Eagles. Jalen Beek s is scheduled to start against Northeastern.
The Eagles plan to start junior righthander Jack Nelson of Sparta, N.J. BC center fielder Dante Baldelli is 6 of 13 with 4 RBIs in three games. He is the brother of former Sox outfielder Rocco Baldelli.
Northeastern will start freshman Henry Ennen, the pride of Dorchester, BC High, and Phillips Academy.
Fenway Park will host a game between Xaverian and St. John’s Prep at 10:30 a.m. on April 21. BC will then play Florida State at 3 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Pete Frates Home Health Initiative for ALS patients. Tickets are $10 and can be obtained at redsox.com/alsgame . . . Hector Velazquez will start the Grapefruit League opener Friday against Minnesota at JetBlue Park.
Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.