Russell Martin has played in four games this spring. He has a stolen base in three of them. He’s the Yankees stolen base leader by a landslide. Martin has three. The rest of the team has one (Chris Dickerson).
“Because I’m fast,” Martin said, allowing himself a little bit of a laugh.
Don’t get me wrong, Martin has pretty good speed for a catcher. He’s stolen 74 bases in his career, and once stole 21 in a season, but he hasn’t stolen more than 11 in any of the past three years. He as 43 steals since 2008. For comparison, Brett Gardner had 49 last year alone.
So why is it Martin who seems to be doing all the running this spring? Part of it is that he simply feels like it. He had surgery last winter and couldn’t workout his legs. This winter, he got his legs stronger and lost a little bit of weight.
“My legs feel good,” he said. “I have more power in my legs because I trained them this offseason, and I’m lighter. I’m not a blazer, but I pick my spots. I’m not Gardy or anything like that, but normally if a guy is above a 1.4, 1.45 (to the plate), I’ve got a shot. If he’s under that, I don’t even think about going.”
Associated Press photo