Through April 23, Russell Martin was hitting .333/.410/.722/1.132. It was clearly a small sample size — just 54 at-bats in 16 games — but we were all partying like it was 2007. He was coming off a two-homer, four-RBI game against the O’s and we were bracing for the second coming of Mike Piazza…with better defense. Since then, though, it has been all downhill.
Martin finished April (including one game in March) hitting .293/.376/.587 with six homers, 19 RBI, four doubles, seven walks (12 Ks), 13 runs and 22 hits in 75 at-bats while going 2-for-2 in stolen-base attempts. In May, his stats regressed. Martin’s numbers at the conclusion of the month were .200/.333/.347 with three homers, seven RBI, two doubles, 10 runs and 15 hits in 75 at-bats. He did increase his walks to 15 and was 3-for-3 in stolen-base attempts, but he also struck out 16 times. The decline continued in June, where he’s hitting .174/.278/.174 with no extra-base hits, four RBI, one run and just eight hits in 46 at-bats. He’s 2-for-3 in stolen-base attempts this month while walking six times and fanning eight times.
A reason for the slump could be injuries, which Martin has been all too familiar with throughout the course of his career. On May 30 he hurt his toes and missed one game; then in early June he hurt his back and missed a total of seven games. The toe problem probably isn’t anything, but the back issue could be a major factor in his production, or lack thereof. No extra-base hits in 46 at-bats is a major cause for concern for a guy who was producing like Martin was earlier in the season.
If I were running the team — thank God I’m not — I would give Russ a stint on the DL and call up Montero. Give Jesus the chance to play everyday and if he can’t cut it throw Cervelli back there. Frankie can’t be much worse than an injured Russell. If worst comes to worst Posada can strap on the gear and catch a few games.
Some rest might be good for Martin; I’d rather have him take a few games off now and recuperate than keep playing and be hurt down the stretch or in the postseason. Catching nine innings per game can’t be easy on the back.