Strip away the raw talent, the competitive nature and the deep-in-the-belly love of the game, and there still is a key ingredient that helped make Pedro Martinez one of the greatest pitchers in history.

He always was smarter than everyone in the room.

He was smarter than his managers and coaches, smarter than his teammates and opponents, smarter than the ever-increasing conga line of misshapen, ill-dressed media types who covered him during those seven history-making seasons he pitched for the Red Sox.

And that’s why he’s back. The Red Sox need his brain. Boston’s Dominican Dandy pulled on a Sox uniform for the first time in nine years when he punched in at JetBlue Park yesterday morning in his new role as special assistant to the general manager — the title is hugely unimportant — and right away the team got a little better, a little smarter.

Make no mistake about it: Having Martinez around also makes for a warm and fuzzy reminder of the good old days, and he brought smiles to the couple of thousand snowbirds who milled about the complex yesterday, watching the 2013 Red Sox prepare for the upcoming season.