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Carlos Martinez means business

In an era where professional athletes typically view the off-season as an extended vacation, it's nice to see that St. Louis Cardinals prospect Carlos Martinez volunteered to pitch in the Dominican Winter League.

Martinez, who bounced up and down between the Cardinals and their farm clubs in 2013 before establishing himself down the stretch and in the postseason, is apparently serious about sticking in St. Louis in 2014.

After pitching 40 2/3 in the big leagues including the playoffs and 79 2/3 innings split between Class AA Springfield and Class AAA Memphis, Martinez could have put his feet up and enjoyed the spoils of being a young bonus baby.

But he approached the Cardinals for permission to work on some things in the winter league and the front office gave its blessing.

Electric -- but sometimes erratic -- in St. Louis, Martinez has nine strikeouts and no walks in 6 1/3 innings of work spread over two appearances in the Dominican Republic. He's allowed three hits and two runs, both unearned, while holding opponents to a .130 batting average.

Martinez is no doubt a highly touted prospect. But he's sort of taken a back seat to Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha in the hypemobile. It's great to see Martinez be committed to trying to become a third potential ace.

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