Tag:Russell Martin
Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:45 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 4:03 pm

AL All-Star balloting update: Bautista tops all

By Matt Snyder

Tuesday, Major League Baseball unveiled the first update on the All-Star balloting for the National League, so Wednesday we found out the American League update. Needless to say, non-Yankees fans won't be happy, but we'll get to that in a second. The big story is that the fans nailed the top overall vote-getter (that goes for both leagues). Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays leads the majors in runs, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS-plus and total bases. You can add top vote-getter to the list for now, because he's gathered 1,261,659 votes. If this holds, he'd become the first Blue Jays player ever to receive the most votes and the first to start the game since Carlos Delgado in 2003.

As things stand now, here are the would-be AL starters: Russell Martin, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson -- yes, those are actually the leaders in votes; I didn't accidentally start listing the Yankees' starters -- Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young (DH).

So, yeah. Six Yankees starters if this was the final version. Here are some observations:

- Asdrubal Cabrera trails Jeter by about 260,000 votes at short. I guess I'm not shocked for several reasons. First of all, the voting began pretty early in the season and Cabrera was a relative unknown when it started. Secondly, you have Jeter and the whole chase for 3,000 hits thing going on. Third, it's the Yankees. If this is a lifetime achievement thing, OK, but if we're looking at just 2011, it's egregious. Cabrera's been the big offensive force for the most surprising team in baseball -- one that has the best record in the AL.

- Teixeira's having a big power year and him starting the game wouldn't be completely undeserved, but I'd rather go with Adrian Gonzalez or Miguel Cabrera there. If you have a problem with Cabrera's off-field issues in the spring, well, vote for Gonzalez or Tex.

- Third could shape up to be a real good battle between A-Rod, Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youkilis -- who were all probably helped by the injury to Evan Longoria.

- Martin is the correct selection behind the plate. Oh, and Joe Mauer's second in voting (tsk, tsk).

- Granderson certainly deserves to start and Cano probably does as well. So Yankees haters need to lay off these guys.

- The outfield voting isn't awesome, that's for sure. Hamilton has been hurt most of the season and sits third. Matt Joyce isn't even in the top 15, nor are Carlos Quentin, Adam Jones, Michael Brantley or Alex Gordon. But Ichiro Suzuki, Nelson Cruz and Carl Crawford are all in contention.

View the full voting results by clicking here.

There are obviously a lot more issues, but it's the initial ballot release and many of the votes were cast when it was released without having a good grasp of how the 2011 season would turn out. Fortunately, there's still time to support your guys and rectify any problems you might have. Voting doesn't end until the end of June.

Click here to cast an online ballot.

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 3:24 pm

Montero 'bored,' but Yanks don't have room

By Matt Snyder

Top Yankees prospect Jesus Montero is only 21 and playing his second year in Triple-A. Much of the talk from scouts is that his upside is a middle-of-the-order elite power bat, but that he's lacking in defensive skills. None of that has really changed, but a tweet from Jon Heyman of SI.com caught my eye Friday afternoon -- saying that a scout told him that Montero is "awesomely talented but bored" in Triple-A.

One of the reasons it caught my eye is that Montero isn't exactly lighting Triple-A on fire. Sure, he's hitting .327, but his OPS is only .772 due to having only taken four walks and hit two home runs. In his 113 at-bats, he's struck out 24 times, too. Add everything up and he's doing well, but hardly putting up Ruthian numbers.

Another reason is that the Yankees' catchers at the big-league level -- who are far superior in terms of defense and working with the pitcher on the mound -- are actually faring quite well at the plate. Played mostly by Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli, Yankees catchers are collectively hitting .250 with a 346 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 27 RBI. The .837 OPS is outstanding for a group of catchers that doesn't include someone like Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez or Buster Posey. So promoting Montero would not only harm the defense, there's a decent chance you'd see an offensive regression.

So that leaves the designated hitter spot, which is more natural for Montero at this point anyway, and it's manned by Jorge Posada. And Posada is struggling.

The 39-year-old former catcher is hitting .172 with six home runs, 15 RBI and a .625 OPS. He's come through with a few big hits and has taken 15 walks, but overall he's not been productive enough to keep at the DH spot all season. It's just that I can't see the Yankees giving up on Posada right now to promote a 21-year-old free-swinger and then insert him into the pressure-packed AL East race. Not yet. Plus, Eric Chavez is reportedly going to be coming back within the next few weeks.

It all boils down to this: If Montero wants a call before September, he's going to have to start putting up a sick line in Triple-A while Posada, Chavez and anyone else the Yankees try in the DH spot fail. With everything the way it currently stands, he's just going to have to continue being bored in the minors.

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Posted on: April 23, 2011 9:51 pm

Martin mashing for Yankees

By Matt Snyder

Even if overshadowed by the A-Rod grand slam and six RBI, Russell Martin is sure to be a hot topic of conversation after the Yankees 15-3 throttling of the Orioles -- especially since he was hit with a pitch in the eighth that may or may not have been intentional. But let's keep the focus on his hot bat and how he seems to have rediscovered how to swing it.

Once an up-and-coming star, he regressed to the point that the Dodgers let him walk as a 27 year old.

Back in 2007, he ended the season with a .293 average, 19 home runs, 87 RBI, 32 doubles, 21 stolen bases, an .843 OPS and a Gold Glove. He was establishing himself as one of the game's elite catchers. Since then, however, things went progressively downhill until you end up looking at a 2010 season where he had a .679 OPS with just five home runs and 26 RBI in 97 games. His shortcomings were not all related to injury issues, either. He just wasn't hitting the ball hard, nor was he comfortable in the box.

Boy, how things have changed.

The 28-year-old catcher is swinging a really hot stick right now, as he hit his fifth and sixth home runs of the season and drove home four -- giving him 15 RBI in 16 games -- Saturday. He's hitting .333 with an OPS now over 1.000. He's even squaring up many of the outs he's making and looks really comfortable in the box. And with good reason, considering he's rarely hit like this ever before.

Now the question becomes whether or not he can keep it up. Well, the power isn't likely to remain close to this rate. He's hitting about 30 percent of his fly balls into the seats. For a point of reference, Joey Votto led the majors with 25 percent home runs per fly ball last season. The rest of the top five were Jose Bautista, Adam Dunn, Carlos Pena and Ryan Howard. Martin obviously hasn't developed that kind of power, so the bombs will slow down. But that doesn't mean he's going to completely come all the way back to Earth. No other advanced batted ball metrics jump off the page as being unsustainable, so it's very reasonable to expect numbers similar or even better than his aforementioned 2007 season. And don't forget about how much easier it is to hit with renewed confidence and in such a loaded lineup.

Suffice it to say, Russell Martin is back -- and he may be better than ever.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 21, 2011 11:45 am

Russell Martin's beauty tips

Russell MartinBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Last week there was a furor by some whack jobs about an email sent by J. Crew  with a boy having his nails painted pink. Those same crazies may soon come after Yankees catcher Russell Martin.

Although, maybe not, since Martin is painting his nails a more masculine orange hue with white stripes.

"There are some guys who have hard time seeing signs," Martin told the Canadian Press. "I just don't what to get crossed up and think a curveball's coming and you get a fastball. It's just not fun getting hit with [a pitch at] 95 mph in the face."

Martin said he just started painting his fingers, and is ignoring the haters for his craft.

"You can't miss this with the orange and white," Martin said. "Some guys use tape, but tape bugs me when I'm throwing the ball. This way I don't have to worry about it. You just have to not get concerned how people think of you or whatever when you're walking down the street."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 10, 2011 1:36 am

3 up, 3 down for 4/10: Pair of homers pace N.Y.


By Evan Brunell

3 UP

Russell Martin, Yankees -- Russell Martin's two-home run day early on proved a harbinger of things to come later that night with the other New York team. Martin delivered a soul-crushing blow in the fourth inning with a three-run blast off Clay Buchholz that erased the lead Boston had just taken. He would later cap off the 9-4 victory with a solo home run in the seventh for a total of four RBI out of the nine spot. He was helped by Eric Chavez's three-hit night in front of him.

Carlos Beltran, Mets -- Carlos Ruiz's pinch-hit grand slam probably belongs here as it was instrumental in taking out the Braves, but this was a game Beltran sorely needed after coming into the game with a paltry .190/.292/.286 mark in 24 plate appearances. Now, he walks away with a .240/.321/.560 mark. Yes, things change that fast in the early going, and Beltran's two home runs against the Nationals completely changed everything for the new right fielder, who tacked on three runs and three RBI as well.

Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers -- An absolute masterpiece tossed by the Japanese import completely blanked the Padres as Kuroda came within one out of a complete game. He ended up with 8 2/3 innings pitched, giving up just six hits and two walks along with four strike outs and of course, no runs earned. With 117 pitches on his resume and having coughed up consecutive singles, Kuroda's night was done. While Johnathan Broxton made it scary by loading the bases on a walk, he was able to nail down the win for Kuroda.


Travis Buck, Indians -- Buck had the worst batting line on the day as his ofer included three strikeouts. Buck is tring to battle for playing time in the outfleld and cling to a spot after Grady Sizemore's eventual return. While the oft-injured outfielder has talent, one has to wonder if the years of stops and starts due to said injuries have sapped all his potential.

Jake Arrieta, Orioles -- Arrieta followed up Zach Britton's shining example set in the first game of a doubleheader by falling flat with a dud. In just 3 1/3 innings, the rookie coughed up six hits and two walks en route to eight earned runs, including two home runs. While he did save face with five strikeouts, that's really searching for a silver line. Could Arrieta and his 8.68 ERA be jettisoned to Triple-A instead of Britton when Brian Matusz returns?

Fernando Abad, Astros -- Bud Norris was cruising and his Astros had a 4-1 lead entering the sixth. Norris would go on to surrender the lead by coughing up three runs, but at least it was still tied, right? Except reliever Fernando Abad came in for the seventh recorded an out and then gave up three straight doubles. No wonder, then, that two runs scored and Abad couldn't finish out the inning. Florida would go on to win 7-5.

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Posted on: April 9, 2011 7:34 pm

Martin: Red Sox were 'iffy' on me

By Evan Brunell

MartinIn the offseason, the Red Sox flirted with the idea of signing Russell Martin, but the backstop eventually hitched on with the Yankees.

“The Red Sox, I think they were a little iffy with the injuries that I had and they weren’t too sure,” Martin told WEEI, referring to his torn labrum in his right hip that ended his season last August. It's the same injury that Mike Lowell struggled with in the last two years of his career with the Red Sox, which certainly had to play a part in Boston being skittish. “It was one of those injuries that hadn’t happened in baseball. The Yankees took the chance and hopefully, I’ll make it a good one for them.”

Martin has rewarded New York so far, bashing two home runs in Saturday's game against Boston to push the club to a 9-4 victory. Overall, he has three homers on the young season with a .321 batting average.

“My focus is just going out there and giving my best effort every day," Martin added, also noting he holds zero grudges against Boston for their decision. "With this lineup, you feel like you’re protected anywhere you hit, and that’s a little bit different than the last couple of years. I feel comfortable wherever I hit in the lineup and I’m just trying to put good swings on the ball.”

How's his hip feeling?

“Not really worried about it,” he said. “I was just wondering when it was going to come back. So far, so good. But it’s a long season so I’m not going to get ahead of myself by any means. I’m just going to keep going out there, keep playing hard and hopefully, keep playing good.”

Martin is expected to catch the bulk of New York's games, although the team will certainly rest him more often than they did back in Los Angeles, where they essentially ground Martin into the dust by catching him almost every day.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 5, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: March 5, 2011 10:57 am

Pepper: Yanks have healthy squatter

By Matt Snyder

When Francisco Cervelli went down with a broken foot Friday , a lot of eyeballs started to peer in the direction of uber-prospect Jesus Montero. Of course, if Montero was ready to join the big-league club out of camp defensively, he'd already be slotted on the roster. By all scouting accounts, his bat is ready. It's just that he threw out only 23 percent of would-be base-stealers last season in Triple-A, which fits in line with his 15 passed balls and six errors.

There's a reason the Yankees brought in Russell Martin. And Friday, there was encouraging news in his health.

Martin, who is recovering from knee surgery, caught five full innings behind the dish and felt "good."

"Honestly, I wouldn't have been out there if I did feel anything," he said after the game. (MLB.com )

Martin has greatly regressed in the past two seasons, but he's still only 28. In each 2007 and 2008 he caught at least 145 games while hitting well enough (.811 OPS) to be an All-Star both seasons. Assuming no setbacks, here is your everyday catcher for the Yankees when the 2011 season opens.

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes is entering the final year of his contract and it seems like he's one of the offensive centerpieces for the team, but SI.com's Jon Heyman reports he'll need to improve his OBP to get a multi-year deal. That's fair. Reyes is a speedster, so if he's only getting on base at a .321 clip (last year's OBP), that's an issue for the money he'll likely command. Of course, from 2006-2009 he was over .350 each season. The guess here is he gets it back to that range and signs an extension with little drama. That is, of course, assuming the Mets' financial woes don't interfere. (Heyman Twitter )

SHEEN-CO DE MAYO: Charlie Sheen jokes and references are beginning to get a bit overplayed by this point, but here's something interesting -- at least I think so. The Lake Elsinore Storm, a minor-league baseball team, are having a promotion this season called "Charlie Sheen-co de Mayo (click here to see the logo ). Among the festivities will be a taco-eating contest, Sheen bobblehead, a "Wild Thing" glasses giveaway and retirement of the number 99 -- the latter two homages to Sheen's Rick Vaughn character in Major League . It's also "Thirsty Thursday," which means $1 beer and coke products. I think I'm feeling a road trip ... (MLBlogs )

DOGGIE ETIQUETTE: While we're on the topic of fun things relating to the ol' ballpark, why not talk hot dogs? After all, the American Meat Council reports there were 21,378,064 dogs sold at major league stadiums last season. Here are some things the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council provide as etiquette in eating your dog:

- Toppings don't go between the bun and the dog; they go on top of the dog.
- Condiment order: 1. wet (ketchup, mustard); 2. chunky (onions, relish); 3. Cheese; 4. Spices
- Do not use utensils
- No china, paper plates are preferred
- No ketchup after you turn 18.

Really? What's wrong with ketchup? And I'm 32 ... (Orlando Sentinel )

MUSCLING UP: Talk about having a career day. Austin Glorius is a senior in high school, and Thursday he hit five home runs in a game. Oh, he also had 17 RBI. He would have had 18 RBI, but one of his teammates missed a base and was called out. So allow me to digress: How does that ever happen? I played baseball until I was 22 and have watched it since I was about four. I cannot understand how a player ever misses a base. Ever. I didn't get it at age six and still don't get it now. You should never, ever miss a base as a baseball player at any level. (Obviously we're talking about missing a base while rounding it, not sliding in to avoid a tag). (Orlando Sentinel )

The Angels are going to wear some throwback uniforms this season for every Friday night home game. You can see the five different uniforms by clicking here , but I'll warn you it's a bit disappointing. All of the uniforms look pretty similar to the current ones, aside from a few of the hats. What was wrong with the '97 alternate ? Or even the home ones -- those were horrifically awesome. (OC Register )

HONORING DUKE: The Dodgers will wear a patch to honor recently-deceased Duke Snider this season. It marks the sixth time in franchise history the team has done so. The previous ones: Jim Gilliam, Don McMahon, Tim Crews, Pee Wee Reese and a combination patch for Don Drysdale and Roy Campanella. (LA Times )

FUN WITH VIDEOS: BABIP explained through a video. Pretty funny stuff. (Fangraphs )

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Posted on: March 4, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 3:51 pm

Cervelli injured; Could Montero step in?

MonteroBy Evan Brunell

The catching situation in New York just took an interesting turn as Francisco Cervelli suffered a broken foot that will knock him out for six to eight weeks, as the New York Times reports.

Cervelli, who served as backup catcher last season but played enough to garner 317 plate appearances, was slated to back up Russell Martin but now the door may have opened for Jesus Montero (pictured).

Montero, a hot-hitting prospect who ranked No. 4 on CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects, is now the immediate favorite to open the year backing up Martin. While the gig would likely only last a month, the 21-year-old may be better off playing full-time down on the farm. That said, New York might want to use this chance to evaluate his oft-maligned defense at the major league level, the better to determine Montero's future moving forward.

One thing's certain: the team won't be considering Jorge Posada as a backup. The longtime Yankees catcher is moving to the DH spot permanently. That leaves Montero fighting with journeyman backup catcher Gustavo Molina. The 29-year-old has seen 45 total PA in the majors split between the White Sox, Orioles, Mets and Red Sox but has yet to lock down a permanent backup gig. Molina appears to be that catcher that is good enough to play in Triple-A as insurance for most teams, but never good enough to lock down a full-time job. Hey, there are worse things for a person to be.

It's in this role that Molina may actually stand the best chance of beating Montero out. Molina is a capable stopgap for a month while Cervelli heals and is unlikely to be claimed on waivers once it is time for him to exit stage left. That would allow Montero to return to Triple-A and avoid a potential liability behind the plate if his defense is as bad as believed.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com