It would be a dream come true to have success in the Major Leagues and one day be greeted in the Dominican Republic like my hero -- Pedro Martinez.
Pedro was my favorite player growing up. As a kid, even now, I just love the way he pitches. I remember when he first started with the Dodgers. I never missed a game when he pitched. He's a great pitcher and a great personality.
I should mention that Pedro is also from my hometown of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. He lives close to me -- just 15 minutes away. He's very friendly off the field. I know him, and I've talked to him at times.
Needless to say, he's very popular back home. He's one of the most popular players in our country. When he comes back each winter, fans wait for him at the airport.
That's never happened to me when I come back, but it would be pretty cool. Who knows? If I do well here in the Major Leagues, maybe someday that will happen to me. I would love it.
As a pitcher, I watch and learn from Pedro. The changeup is one of his better pitches, and it's a pitch I've added recently. He has a great idea of what to do with his changeup, so I talked to him about it for a couple of minutes during winter ball. He told me to keep it going, to keep working hard and that I have good stuff. He told me that I would do well in the big leagues, and I just needed to keep doing what I was doing.
It's amazing to me the power he generates with his small frame. It's unbelievable. We have a guy here with the Reds, Johnny Cueto, who sort of reminds me of Pedro. Like Pedro, Johnny has strong legs and a strong arm.
I haven't been in a game against Pedro in the Major Leagues or in the Dominican yet, although I've seen him pitch in the Dominican. It would be a dream to pitch against him in a game someday. It would be a great thrill.
If that game were to happen in the National League, I would have to face him as a batter, too. I don't know how well that would go, though. I'm not very good with my hitting.
Edinson Volquez has been one of this season's early success stories. Named to the NL All-Star team, the Reds' rookie leads the NL with a 2.36 ERA, is tied for second with 11 wins and is third in strikeouts with 116.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.