PHILADELPHIA -- Ethan Martin will make his Major League debut Friday against the Braves. And though it could be the only start he makes for the Phillies this season, he is hoping to make the right impression.
Martin was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday, and he will start in place of Cliff Lee, who has a sore neck. Lee threw a bullpen session earlier in the week and plans on starting Sunday night against Atlanta.
"I want to come up here and show what I got and prove to them that I can be here," Martin, 24, said. "If Cliff comes back and it's my time to go back down, I want to show to them and put it in the back of their heads whenever they need somebody else."
Martin was a first-round selection by the Dodgers in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, and the Phillies acquired him in a trade for Shane Victorino at last year's Trade Deadline. He was recently rated as the No. 10 prospect in the organization by MLB.com.
In 21 starts at Triple-A this season, Martin went 11-5 with a 4.12 ERA, 107 strikeouts and 67 walks. He did not go more than five innings in any of his first five starts this season. But he said pitching through a tough first inning in that fifth start was a turning point for him on the mound.
"There was one start, the first inning I threw 40-something pitches," Martin said. "[Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage] wanted to take me out, but I said 'Nah, let's try this out.' I went out the rest of the game and pitched five innings. With that on my mind, I started to get a little bit of confidence, and just built off it."
An Athens, Ga., native, Martin grew up about an hour and 15 minutes from Atlanta and said he used to go to four or five Braves games a season. He said he did not even realize he would be facing the team he grew up rooting for until his mother told him. Martin called facing the Braves in his debut "crazy."
"I don't really think it's set in yet," Martin said. "Hopefully, it doesn't until afterward. But, we'll go from there, walk out on the mound and see how it goes."
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.