Russell Martin on lineup
For Russell Martin, finding his name in the starting lineup is no big deal. However, finding his name in the starting lineup at third base was a very big deal to Martin on Friday. “I'm really pumped,” he said. “It's awesome.” As most of his teammates spent the pre-game worrying how they would stay warm in frigid Coors Field, Martin was ecstatic about his first Major League start at his old Minor League position. “I'm about as comfortable there as I am behind the plate,” Martin said, who is a Gold Glove catcher who hadn't started a game at third base since the Gulf Coast rookie league in 2002. “That doesn't matter. It's like riding a bike. If you can catch a ground ball, you can catch a ground ball. I take ground balls there every day. I wasn't converted because I couldn't play defense.”
Furthermore, manager Joe Torre used Martin at third base in the late innings of two games last week with injuries to Andy LaRoche, third basemen Nomar Garciaparra, and Tony Abreu, and backup infielder Chin-lung Hu uncomfortable at the position. He started him on Monday in order to sit rookie Blake DeWitt against Colorado left-hander Jeff Francis, while giving Martin ‘half a day off’ by relieving him of the grueling catching duties that went to backup Gary Bennett. “It's a mental grind,” Martin agreed. “It's like you're playing chess, trying to figure out how to get guys out. No offense to guys playing the infield, but it's way easier. You just stand out there and every once in a while, you get a ball.”
Martin said he gets a kick out of other people's reactions to his versatility. “Guys on other teams think I'm crazy, but to me, I can play there easy,” Martin said. “I haven't gotten any balls yet, but I hope I get a couple backhand plays. That would be sweet. People have never seen me there, but I know what I can do. I'm looking forward to it just to prove to people I can play third.”
The Dodgers players are doing their best to be able to win their games in MLB. Fans and supporters are very supportive of the team that makes the team move on with great skills and determination.
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