Russell Martin had a brutal start to the season, hitting .150 over 60 at-bats in April. He was even worse in the final month, posting a .148 average in 81 at-bats. However, in the four months sandwiched between, Martin hit .295 with 16 home runs and 67 RBI. Overall, the catcher tallied similar numbers to what he had the previous year, although Martin's power dipped a bit in 2016. Most alarming about the veteran's recent campaign is the career-high 27.7 percent strikeout rate -- up from 20.9 percent in 2015 and up more than 10 percentage points from his career 17.4 percent mark. This could be a sign that Martin's bat speed is declining. Father Time is certainly chasing down Martin, but there doesn't appear to be another catcher in the organization ready to challenge him for the spot. He's only in the third year of a five-year, $82 million contract, putting him in position for another busy year at age-34 in 2017.
Martin is out of the lineup for Saturday's game against the Angels, Blue Jays broadcaster Mike Wilner reports. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will catch and bat eighth as Martin sits after starting four of the team's last five games. Martin turned in his first multi-hit game of the season Friday, a 3-for-5 showing against the Angels, but he's still batting .159/.315/.250 for the season. He was struggling to an even greater extent at this time last year, but still finished with 20 homers and 74 RBI.
Martin is out of Thursday's lineup against the Red Sox, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. He will sit in the day game following the night game, as is standard practice for most catchers. Martin has just four hits in 39 at-bats this year (.103 AVG), but hit a home run earlier this week, so he is finally starting to provide value in a couple categories. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will start behind the dish and hit seventh.
Martin went 1-for-4 with a solo homer and a pair of runs in Tuesday's loss to Boston. He's steadily warming to the task after a slow start, having hit safely in three straight now. Don't discount Martin over his slow start -- another season of around 20 homers and 70 RBI should be in the cards, health permitting.
Martin is not in the Blue Jays' starting lineup Saturday. It appears to be a routine rest day for Martin after playing in six consecutive games. The veteran catcher is off to a horrendous start from the plate this season, recording just two hits in 28 at-bats. Jarrod Saltalamacchia gets the start in his absence.
Martin went 1-for-3 with a double -- his first hit of the year -- against the Brewers on Wednesday. He also struck out two more times, bringing his whiff total to nine in 21 at-bats. That's an ugly rate, but the good news is that Martin has drawn six walks and finally gotten the monkey off his back after going hitless for the Jays' first seven games. It's worth keeping in mind that Martin started last season in a slump, too -- 2-for-30 -- before recovering to hit 20 homers and drive in 74 runs. You're not looking to him for batting average, and the power will come. Stay patient.
|vs L.A. ANGELS||3/8||.375||0||0||0||2||0|
|vs CHAVEZ (CAREER)||0/2||.000||0||0||0||2||1|