He was signed by the Indians as an amateur free agent in 1996 and after a pair of minor league MVP awards and batting titles in 2001 and 2002, he made his debut with Cleveland as a September call-up on September 10, 2002.
In 2003, Martínez played for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons and the Indians. He finished with a combined .315 batting average, hitting at a .349 clip in August and September with the big league club. Exhibiting knowledge of the strike zone and an ability to make contact, he reduced his strikeout totals and produced a combined .376 on base percentage. He also drove in 63 runs, hitting .323 with runners in scoring position, and was selected to participate in the All-Star Futures Game played at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field. From 2001–03, the Venezuelan slugger batted a combined .330 with 40 home runs and 194 RBI.
Martínez hit .283 with 23 home runs in 2004 as the Indians' No. 1 catcher. He set a record for Indians catchers with 108 RBI, earned his first All-Star selection, and shared the Silver Slugger honor as the top-hitting American League catcher with Iván Rodríguez. For the first time since the awards began in 1980, there was a tie at one position. On July 16, Martínez also had the best offensive night by a Tribe catcher in franchise history, when he hit three home runs, singled twice, drew a walk, and drove in a career-high seven runs in a perfect 5-for-5 game.
In June 2005, Martínez was batting .207, but he came into the season's final weekend batting .382 (96-for-251) after the All-Star break, the most for any ML player. He finished the season with a .305 average, 20 home runs and 80 RBI. Since 2006, the Indians started using Martínez occasionally at first base. In the field in 2006, he allowed 100 stolen bases, more than any other catcher in Major League Baseball. In 2007, he hit 25 home runs, had 114 RBI, more than any other catcher, and finished 7th in American League MVP voting.
On July 5, 2009, Martínez was selected to represent Cleveland in the 2009 All Star Game.
Boston Red SoxEdit
On July 31, 2009, Martinez was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, and Bryan Price. Martinez would regularly play between first base and catcher, catching usually for the younger pitchers within the rotation, with some of the veteran starting pitchers opting for Red Sox captain Jason Varitek.Template:Citation needed
Following the season, the Red Sox exercised his 2010 option for $7.1 million.
On June 28, 2010, Martinez suffered a fractured left thumb, and was placed on the 15-day DL. He finished the 2010 season with a .302 batting average with 20 home runs and 79 runs batted in.
On November 23, 2010, Martínez and the Tigers organization reached an agreement on a four-year $50 million contract.
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