The ball slid underneath Russell Martin’s glove and into the outfield, and Pittsburgh Pirates third base coach Nick Leyva couldn’t help but have a little fun with the three-time All-Star catcher.
“We’ve only got one bag of balls left,” Leyva said with a smile before lifting his fungo bat to send another grounder Martin’s way.
“I’ll catch the ball when they’re hit a little harder,” Martin shot back.
Martin usually makes a living casually corralling pitches barreling down on him at over 90 mph. Forgive him if it may take a little while for the big league catcher to get settled at shortstop, where Martin will moonlight for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
Don’t expect the transition to take very long. Martin was drafted as a third baseman by the Dodgers in 2002 before being converted to catcher. He’s surprisingly blunt about how he feels about squatting for nine innings.
“I’m not a catcher, I’m an athlete,” he said. “I can play anywhere.”
Just not behind the plate for his native country in the WBC. And that’s just the way Martin prefers it.
Russell Martin, a catcher, tries shortstop in WBC
Boston Herald | Feb 22