BOSTON (CBS) -- With the coronavirus pandemic hitting the Domincan Republic hard, one of the island nation's most famous sons is throwing some high heat to help. Red Sox legend and baseball Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez is leading the charge to combat the virus in his home country.
Martinez and his wife, Carolina, who is the director of Martinez's foundation, have formed a coalition of more than 40 major league players for the "Step Up To The Plate Fund." Fellow Red Sox great and Dominican native David Ortiz has joined the cause, along with MLB stars Nelson Cruz, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Manny Machado, Albert Pujols, Gary Sanchez and Luis Serevino, among others. Retired stars Adrian Beltre and Jose Bautista have also joined Martinez.
So far, they have raised over $550,000 for virus relief efforts in the Dominican Republic, which has included food, personal protective equipment and other essential supplies.
"The Dominican Republic has always been my home, and right now it truly needs our help. Being supported in this effort by so many of my fellow players is an honor," Martinez told ESPN. "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."
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has also pledged to support the cause, with a joint donation from MLB and the MLB Players Association set to announce a donation next week.
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