Martinez excited for Miami homecoming in '12

Martinez excited for Miami homecoming in '12

HOUSTON - The Astros' first road trip of next season takes them to Miami to face the Marlins, giving rookie outfielder J.D. Martinez his first chance to play in the Major Leagues in his hometown.

Martinez grew up as a huge Marlins fan and is looking forward to the April 13-15 trip to South Florida.

"Absolutely," he said. "That would be my favorite road trip because I'll get to go back home and I'll get to see my family and friends and a lot of people that haven't seen me play, except on TV."

Martinez took in countless Marlins games as a kid at what is now Sun Life Stadium, including the 1997 World Series, but the Marlins will be moving to a new ballpark next year and will even have a new name, the Miami Marlins. Martinez won't miss the old stadium.

"I grew up seeing that field and everything like that," Martinez said. "With a new stadium, it's going to be a lot more exciting. That stadium doesn't have the baseball environment, but that's where I grew up and watched all my games and I'd go there to watch the Marlins. That's all I knew."

The Marlins, who will unveil their new stadium in a one-game series against the Cardinals on April 4, 2012, will then hit the road before returning home to host the Astros in the second through fourth regular season games at the new ballpark.