|photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie|
Russell Martin is staying in Bradenton.
The Pirates' newly-acquired catcher has decided not to play for Team Canada for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
"The Pirate organization wasn't comfortable with me playing shortstop, and I don't think Team Canada was comfortable with me playing shortstop," said Martin, who was born in Ontario and resides in Quebec, "and I didn't want to have put my body in a position where I was going to catch however many innings of baseball during the tournament."
Wait. Did he say shortstop?
Drafted as in infielder in 2002 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Martin was all about going to the WBC as long he didn't have to catch. And he wanted to play short.
So the 30-year-old figured if he was going to catch, why not catch the guys who he'll be working with for the next five months.
"I'm not catching every day here," Martin said prior to Sunday's game against the Atlanta Braves, "but staying here and catching their bullpens, catching them in a game every once in a while, it'll help accelerate the process of chemistry and just comfort."