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Sunday, March 6, 2011

WHY MARTIN'S A FACTOR

The Yankees catching situation, while confirmed by Yankee brass, is interesting this spring, so far. Russell Martin, who was brought in by Brian Cashman has the intention making him the starting catcher. In fact, he's made it clear, but Jesus Montero is turning some heads. When spring started, the backup role was a competition between Francisco Cervelli and Jesus Montero. Cervelli, now with a foot injury, has opened the door for Jesus Montero. So at this very moment, if Opening day were tomorrow, the Yankees would be forced to go with Martin at the starter and Montero as the backup. Not a bad scenario.

Last year, Russell Martin struggled with the Los Angeles Dodgers with a hip injury, thus appearing in only 97 games. And last year, Martin batted just .248 with career lows in home runs (5) and RBIs (26). Martin also had a career low in stolen bases with only six. back in 2007, Martin had 21 swiped bases, so you can see the difference and obviously, the hip was a factor. The good news is, if he gets back to 100% health, running for Martin would be a factor.

On the injury front, Martin has had to deal with a knee injury this year, thus missing the first few games of Spring Training. But, he's back in action with the Yankees behind the plate. So far, he's 0-9 this spring with an RBI and a run scored on a walk. But it's only Spring, don't panic.

Defensively, Martin will be a nice fit. He has a rocket arm behind the dish, throwing out a career 31% of potential base stealers. Last year, even though he was injured, Martin threw out 39% of potential base stealers. Not too shabby.

Even though Martin has struggled the last two seasons with the Dodgers, he should thrive with a fresh beginning in the Bronx. Barring another injury setback, we expect Martin to be behind the plate Opening day against the Detroit Tigers. He's going to play in smaller ballparks this season with the Yanks, compared to the ballparks he's had to play in the NL, including his home ballpark, Dodger Stadium, so keep that in mind and look for Martin's home run and RBI numbers. They'll hopefully shoot up.

Martin could be the dark horse this year, staying healthy is key for Martin, and if that's the case and the numbers pour in, he will be welcomed with open arms. Looking forward to it. Are you?


--Jesse Schindler BYB Guest Writer

The Pinstriped Personality Blog


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