The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Martin: “I feel like it’s April right now”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Aug 20, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Russell Martin got his first big league call-up in 2006, and he hasn’t been back to minor leagues since. For a 28-year-old catcher, the guy has played a lot of big league games.

“I feel like it’s April right now,” he said. “Seriously. The way Joe’s been giving me rest, I’ve never had a year like this where I’ve been fully rested like I am now. I’ve got to give it up to him, because I’m not going to take days off. They’re going to have to give it to me.”

Martin opened the 2006 season in the minors, and he spent part of 2010 on the disabled list. That means he’s spent three full seasons in the big leagues. During those years, Martin caught 145, 149 and 137 games for the Dodgers. He’s carried a heavy workload, and he came to the Yankees with some concerns about his ability to remain both healthy and productive through a full season.

Right now it’s late August, and Martin’s pretty much what he’s been all season: A strong defensive catcher who’s ability to hit for power makes him a legitimate threat at the plate. He’s caught in 96 games, and Joe Girardi has been careful to give Martin regular days off to keep his knees and legs fresh.

“He’s a guy that sometimes appears to get stronger the more he plays,” Girardi said.

Martin’s not hitting for average, but the combination of his power with the bat, glove behind the plate , and relationship with the pitching staff have made him valuable beyond expectation. The key, as he explains it, has been staying healthy.

“Right now I’ve got zero problems,” Martin said. “When you’re feeling great, you expect to do well. Hopefully I can just keep feeling like this the rest of the way.”

Associated Press photo

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