|Russell Martin: The Red Sox were ‘iffy’ on me||04.09.11 at 6:41 pm ET|
Russell Martin says he holds no grudges against the Red Sox.
But you certainly couldn’t prove it by the show he put on Saturday at Fenway Park, belting two homers to the Monster seats in left as part of a four-homer barrage that led the Yankees over the Red Sox, 9-4.
Martin afterward acknowledged the Red Sox tested the waters on the veteran catcher as a back-up but were scared off by the torn labrum in his right hip from last August – the same injury that slowed Mike Lowell over his last two seasons in Boston.
“The Red Sox, I think they were a little iffy with the injuries that I had and they weren’t too sure,” Martin said. “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.”
The Red Sox decided on keeping Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has mirrored many in the Boston lineup with a slow start. Salty went 1-for-4 Saturday which actually raised his average to .182 in eight games as the first-string catcher.
The Yankees, on the other hand, were not as picky as the Red Sox and felt they needed a veteran presence behind the plate to finally take some of the load off Jorge Posada until prospect Jesus Montero is ready. Call Martin a “bridge” catcher.
“I hadn’t played since August,” Martin said. “I was injured but I did the right things to get back healthy and I feel fresh.
“My focus is just going out there and giving my best effort every day. 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.”
In making a far more aggressive play for the former All-Star, the Yankees signed him to a one-year, $4 million deal that many in the industry considered a surprisingly high bid. But in the season’s first nine days, Martin has been a strong contributor, never more so than on Saturday, when he crushed a pair of homers (his second and third of the season) and drove in four. He is now hitting .321 with a 1.023 OPS.
“I’m healthy,” Martin said. “I’ve been healthy since the beginning of the season so it definitely is a good feeling. I feel like it’s been a while. Hopefully, I can keep it going.
“Not really worried about it,” added Martin in referencing his hip. “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.”
Asked if he thought much about what might have been heading into this series at Fenway Park, Martin said he really never gave it a second thought.
“Not really,” Martin said. “I’ve got the Yankee uniform on and that’s really who I play for right now, and that’s all I really care about.”
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