Russell Martin got the first one out of the way on Thursday. After nine seasons in the Dodgers organization, Martin’s Yankees debut was a good one: He had the Yankees first hit, he made a gutsy move to steal third, he scored twice and he coaxed a strong game out of the pitching staff.
“Going into the game I felt a little nervous, a little jittery,” Martin said. “After that first pitch is thrown, you’re able to calm down a little bit. Everything seems to calm down. My main goal was to get a good start out of CC. He battled through that cold weather, did a nice job, and guys had a couple of clutch hits, a couple of clutch home runs. It was just a good day overall.”
In some corners, Brian Cashman took a little heat this winter for signing Martin. The minor league system seemed ready to takeover at catcher, and Martin seemed to be an unnecessary roadblock. Then Francisco Cervelli got hurt, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine struggled, and it became crystal clear that the Yankees don’t want Jorge Posada to catch a single inning this season.
Martin gives the Yankees a catcher they can trust. If his bat bounces back he could be a boost at the bottom of the lineup, and even if it doesn’t, he knows what he’s doing behind the plate.
“He’s done a great job knowing the hitters,” Joba Chamberlain said. “It’s easy throwing to guy who works that hard behind the plate.”
One game in, Martin has given the Yankees exactly what they need.
“I think he’s adjusted well,” Joe Girardi said. “We’re extremely pleased with what he did in spring training and what he brings to the table. We’re looking for a big year from him.”
Associated Press photo