banner

MLB Baseball

Martin reunited with Kershaw, connecting with new teammates

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

By THERESA SMITH

Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Before the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled the trigger on their January trade to bring back catcher Russell Martin, they watched enough video to convince themselves he would bounce back from career lows in batting average and slugging percentage.

On the first official day of pitcher and catcher workouts Wednesday, they couldn't be more pleased with the four-time All-Star.

"Bringing Martin back, just him getting up to speed with our guys, the early returns have been unbelievable," said Andrew Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations. "Not surprising just how much he's already invested into our guys, the questions he's asking. All he wants to do is win and you can see it in everything he does."

As a replacement for Yasmani Grandal, who signed as a free agent with Milwaukee, Martin is connecting with returning catcher Austin Barnes and eliminating concerns about the possibility of splitting time.

"As far as Barnes, he looks like he's a tremendous athlete, a good catcher, a good teammate," Martin said. "Good teammates have one goal in common, they want the team to win and I think we share that so I am not going to be (complaining) at all about playing time. As long as we win games, and we put ourselves in position to hopefully win a championship, that's all we can do."

Martin, who will turn 36 on Friday, has made the playoffs nine times in a 13-year career that began with the Dodgers (2006-2010), and continued with the Yankees (2011-12), Pirates (2013-14) and Blue Jays (2015-18).

With Toronto out of the playoffs last season and committed to developing younger players, Martin did not play the last month and was limited to 289 at-bats, a far cry from his more than 500 at-bats in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

"I was horrible last year," Martin said. "Still a tough out, still could work a count, still hit the ball relatively hard, but it was a down year. I wasn't as good as I can be. When you get older, they give an excuse for you, `Well, you're getting old.' But my body felt great. I got zero excuses."

He's already pleased with the approach from new Dodgers hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc and his staff, including hitting strategist Brant Brown and assistant hitting coach Aaron Bates. Van Scoyoc came aboard Nov. 28 to replace Turner Ward, who was hired by the Reds, new home of former Dodgers Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp.

From their analysis of Martin's 2018 performance, they recommend change.

"They told me, `We can clean up your lower half. We feel we can synchronize it to where it is working together,'" Martin said.

Manager Dave Roberts expects improvement.

"No. 1, Russell gives you a professional at-bat, the quality of contact is there," he said. "I am sure he understands there was an angle issue there, a negative angle consistently."

The goal is for the ball to jump off his bat via an effortless swing.

"An effortless swing is a swing you can control, and when you are in control, you typically have better at-bats," Martin said. "I've always been good at pitch recognition; I always draw walks . last season I was not in position (mechanically) to hit the ball."

Defensively, he is studying an analytics package provided by Friedman, which shows key aspects of each Dodgers pitcher. Plus, he is picking Barnes' brain.

"The biggest part about being a catcher is knowing your pitchers, building that relationship, building that confidence," Martin said.

Left-hander Rich Hill appreciates Martin's seasoning.

"One thing you can't teach is experience, so what he brings into this clubhouse of over a decade of playing in the major leagues is going to help immensely," Hill said.

Clayton Kershaw is the only Dodgers pitcher to have ever worked with Martin. They reunited on Tuesday for a bullpen session.

"I thought their discussion during the pen session was great," Roberts said. "I know Russell is very excited to catch him."

NOTES: Roberts said life without Puig "is going to be different." "It is going to be a quieter camp, whether that is good or bad." ... Closer Kenley Jansen threw his first bullpen Wednesday and was pleased with his spin rate, which dipped last season as he struggled to overcome a hamstring injury and dealt with atrial fibrillation. An August episode in Denver led to an ablation procedure on Nov. 26. "He looks great," said Friedman. . Mark Prior will be the primary pitching coach in the absence of Rick Honeycutt, who underwent surgery Tuesday and is expected to be away for a few weeks while recovering.

---

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Updated February 13, 2019

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2019 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

NBA Scoreboard
Detroit 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 MST5:00 CST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)00:0019:00 ET5:00 CT22:00
Preview
Cleveland 
Utah 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 MST5:00 CST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)00:0019:00 ET5:00 CT22:00
Preview
Washington 
Denver 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 MST5:30 CST6:30 EST3:30 UAE (+1)00:3019:30 ET5:30 CT22:30
Preview
Boston 
New York 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 MST5:30 CST6:30 EST3:30 UAE (+1)00:3019:30 ET5:30 CT22:30
Preview
Toronto 
Golden State 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST6:00 CST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 CT23:00
Preview
San Antonio 
Miami 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST6:00 CST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 CT23:00
Preview
Oklahoma City 
New Orleans 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST6:30 CST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3020:30 ET6:30 CT23:30
Preview
Dallas 
Chicago 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST8:00 CST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0022:00 ET8:00 CT1:00
Preview
Phoenix 
Indiana 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST8:30 CST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)03:3022:30 ET8:30 CT1:30
Preview
Portland 
NHL Scoreboard
Arizona 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 MST5:30 CST6:30 EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ET20:30 BRT
Preview
Tampa Bay 
Vancouver 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST6:30 CST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET21:30 BRT
Preview
Chicago 
Winnipeg 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST8:30 CST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ET23:30 BRT
Preview
Los Angeles 
Vegas 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST8:30 CST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ET23:30 BRT
Preview
San Jose 
MLB Spring Training
Cactus
San Francisco4Bot
8th
Chi White Sox2
San Diego3Final
Cleveland1
Cincinnati3Bot
7th
Colorado6
LA Dodgers 7:05 PT8:05 MT9:05 CT10:05 ET22:05 ET2:05 GMT10:05 7:05 MST9:05 EST8:05 CST9:35 VEN6:05 UAE (+1)8:05 CT
Texas 
Grapefruit
Baltimore14Final
Detroit(ss)1
Boston1Final
Minnesota4
Miami7Final
Washington(ss)1
Philadelphia1Final
St. Louis4
Pittsburgh4Final
Tampa Bay2
Detroit(ss)2Final
Toronto3
Washington(ss)6Final
NY Mets5
NY Yankees0Bot
1st
Atlanta0
HSBC Womens Champ (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1S. Park-15F
2M. Lee-13F
3tJ. Ko-11F
3tA. Munoz-11F
5tH. Kim-10F
5tA. Olson-10F
7E. Ji-9F
8tJ. Ewart Shadoff-8F
8tA. Jutanugarn-8F
10N. Korda-6F
View Full Leaderboard
 
Hoag Classic (CHMP)
PosNameScoreThru
1K. Triplett - z-10F
2W. Austin - y-10F
3tJ. Maggert-9F
3tS. McCarron-9F
5tS. Flesch-8F
5tP. Goydos-8F
5tF. Quinn-8F
8tD. Garwood-7F
8tL. Janzen-7F
10tP. Broadhurst-6F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff