Like most everywhere else in the world, the Dominican Republic has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. The island nation has more than 8,400 cases and 350 deaths from COVID-19.
Now, one of the most famous sons of the D.R. is leading the effort to combat the virus in his home country.
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Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez and his wife Carolina, director of Martinez's foundation, have been instrumental in forming a coalition of more than 40 major leaguers who have started the "Step Up to the Plate" fund, which has raised more than $550,000 for virus relief efforts, including food, personal protective equipment for medical workers and other essential supplies.
“The Dominican Republic has always been my home, and right now it truly needs our help,” the former Red Sox great told ESPN's Marly Rivera. “Being supported in this effort by so many of my fellow players is an honor. These are people without the most basic needs, and we are blessed to be in a position to help, and it is our duty to do so.”
Fellow Red Sox legend and Dominican native David Ortiz has also joined the cause, Martinez said. Also, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has pledged MLB support.