Pirates notebook: Production, not power, drives Martin this year
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, 7:15 p.m.
BRADENTON, Fla. — Russell Martin's batting average nosedived the past two seasons when he played for the New York Yankees. But his power surged; he smacked 18 homers in 2011 and a career-best 21 last season.
“The Yankees are a home run-hitting team. That's their attitude,” Martin said. “But I'm not that type of hitter. Maybe I got too power-happy. I've always been good at contact. I can put the ball in play as much as anybody in the game. But when you take a power swing, you try to do too much. You can roll over balls and strike out a lot.”
Last year, Martin hit .211 and fanned once every 4.4 at-bats. Manager Clint Hurdle said it was clear Martin had changed his approach — and perhaps not for the best.
“Yes, he hit some homers, but he'll be the first to tell you he's not happy with the overall offensive numbers,” Hurdle said. “There's a better hitter in there, a more consistent hitter in there.”
As a rookie in 2006 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Martin batted .282 and struck out once in every 7.3 at-bats.
“He got everybody's attention,” Hurdle said. “He was hitting the ball from line to line, he was hitting balls out of the ballpark, and when he got on base he was quicker than you anticipated. He was an athletic package.”
“This year, I'm not going to worry about home runs,” Martin said. “My perspective is all about trying to be productive.”
BP skipped, but not fundamentals
There were no bullpen sessions or live batting practice Monday. Instead, the Pirates focused on fielding and baserunning drills.
“I was very pleased with ... all the baserunning,” Hurdle said. “We did all the challenges on base — a straight steal, hit and run, dirtball read, squeeze play. When we took it to the rundowns it was assorted pickoffs, throws to pickoff men, balls captured in the infield, shrinking the distance, making quick, efficient throws to get outs.
“We had real runners in, so it was more real-time than the old, traditional way with coaches on the bases. They're easier to catch than the players. I walked away with a very good feeling.”
Burnett, Karstens close to pitching BP
Right-handers A.J. Burnett and Jeff Karstens might be ready to throw their first sessions of live batting practice. Both are scheduled to pitch Tuesday.
Shaler father, son get Bradenton bonus
Jeff Schultheis of Shaler and his 9-year-old son, Luke, were guests of president Frank Coonelly on Monday in camp. Coonelly met the Schultheises at the airport on their way to Florida and, after finding out they are Pirates fans, offered to give them a private tour of Pirate City. Coonelly showed them around the facility, guided them through the clubhouse and sat with them and chatted in a dugout during workouts.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Huntington narrows team’s offseason targets
- Pirates will shop while starting pitcher Burnett makes his decision
- Breaking down the Pirates’ needs entering winter meetings
- Ex-Pirates great Parker’s long wait for Hall of Fame could finally end
- Pirates make offers to 7 players at arbitration deadline
- Cost of doing business increasing for Pirates
- Former Pirates closer continues to make impact
- Cost of doing business increasing for Pirates
- Film about former Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis in prestigious festival
- Ex-Pirate Jones close to signing with Marlins