Nick Martinez surprised to get good news

ARLINGTON, Texas -- When Nick Martinez hit the "end" button on his cell phone Wednesday morning, he was worried.

The 23-year-old was about to get breakfast with a few other minor leaguers outside of the complex when Steve Mintz, the pitching coach at Class-A Myrtle Beach, called and chewed Martinez out for being late that day. Martinez didn't think he was supposed to be in early on Wednesday.

"He wasn't too happy with me," Martinez said. "I thought I was in trouble."

Martinez immediately headed to the clubhouse where Mintz and senior director of minor league operations Mike Daly were waiting on him. They took him into manager Ron Washington's office in Surprise, where general manager Jon Daniels, assistant general manager Thad Levine and a host of coaches were waiting.

"I thought they were going to talk to me about the trip to San Antonio," Martinez said. "Wash told me I was late and was giving me a hard time and then laughed and told me to relax. He said they were putting me in the rotation. I was shocked. I said, 'Thank you.' But what do you say? I think I said thank you 50 times.

"I called my dad and he started crying. I had to let him go. He called all the family and they had a party at my house last night."

Martinez's first start will likely come at Fenway Park. And he said his mother and father will certainly be there.

That's a long way from where Martinez assumed he'd start the season -- at Double-A Frisco.

"I had that in mind when I got to spring but still wanted to work hard and turn some heads while I was out there," Martinez said. "Luckily, I did."

Martinez credited his coaches who helped him put up consistent numbers in Class A and Double-A last year. He said he found a consistent delivery and release point and learned a bunch about pitch sequencing.

"I can't wait," Martinez said. "I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing."