On a per-game basis, Russell Martin's age-34 campaign looked very similar to the one before it, as he was on a pace to approach 20 homers if he had been able to stay healthy for another 130-game workload. Nerve inflammation in his shoulder cost Martin a couple weeks in May, and the problem seemed to resurface in June before an oblique injury put him back on the DL in August. As the injuries piled up, Martin's production tailed off and he hit .198/.276/.360 in the second half after posting a more typical .235/.378/.403 line in the first half. Considering his age, the Blue Jays are unlikely to put a full starter's workload on Martin's shoulders at this stage of his career, so it's reasonable to expect 110-115 games if he's able to avoid the nagging ailments that caused him to play less than he has in any of his 12 big-league seasons to date in 2017.
Martin worked on adding muscle in the offseason to assure his body won't break down this season, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports. Martin, who recently turned 35, is looking to bounce back from an injury-filled 2017 campaign that saw him appear in a career-low 91 games. With no proven backup to share time with -- Luke Maile, who is slated to open the year as the team's No. 2 option behind the dish, posted a brutal .407 OPS in 136 plate appearances last season -- the Blue Jays are once again expected to rely heavily on Martin, assuming his body is able to hold up. Depending on how Martin feels throughout camp, and how Maile performs, Toronto could still choose to limit the veteran's playing time, as his best season in recent years came when he played just 111 games with the Pirates in 2014.
Martin isn't in the lineup Sunday against the Yankees. Martin will head to the bench for Sunday's season finale while Miguel Montero fills in behind the dish. Martin missed much of the month of September with an oblique injury and was only able to play in 10 games, over which he hit just .206 with a .691 OPS.
Martin is not in the Blue Jays' lineup Friday, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. Martin will give way to Raffy Lopez behind the dish. The vet is batting just .200 across 30 at-bats since returning from the disabled list, but at least he's left the yard once and driven in eight runs in that span.
Martin is not in the lineup for Monday's game against the Red Sox. Martin will head to the bench despite going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBI in Sunday's win over the Yankees. Luke Maile will take over behind the dish, batting ninth.
Martin is not in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Yankees. Martin hit a two-run homer in Friday's 8-1 win over the Yankees, but he'll get Saturday day off after starting three of the last four contests behind the dish. Raffy Lopez is starting at catcher and batting ninth in his place. Look for Martin to return to the lineup for Sunday's series finale.