Toronto Blue Jays backstop Russell Martin is poised to play shortstop for Team Canada in the upcoming World Baseball Classic tourney, should we be concerned?
Baseball Canada is set to formally announce their finalized roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic Tourney. Canada kicks off their round robin competition in Miami on March 09th versus the Dominican Republic.
It is speculated that Russell Martin will be employed as Team Canada’s shortstop for the tournament as the team is seriously lacking in viable middle infield depth. Martin is more than up for the challenge and campaigned for the opportunity. George Kottaras will get the bulk of the catching responsibilities for Team Canada during the WBC.
Martin opted not to participate in the 2013 tourney after his suggestions to play infield were not taken seriously. The catcher who was in his first season with the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to remain with his club team and foster his relationships with the new pitching staff. Team Canada utilized the light-hitting middle infield tandem of Cale Iorg and Pete Orr in 2013.
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The 33-year old has played 96.1 innings at third base and 7 innings at second base during his 11-year major league career. Martin did see some time on the infield at various minor league stops including one appearance at shortstop in rookie ball with the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, Martin hasn’t seen regular reps at shortstop since his college days at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida.
A notable omission from the roster is Brett Lawrie who has major league experience at both second and third base.
The catcher recently joked about the challenge to Mike Wilner host of Jays Talk at the recent Baseball Canada Awards Banquet.
Perhaps not throwing on the tools of ignorance until mid-March, minus the first couple weeks of spring training will benefit Martin during the dog days of summer when his body wears down.
However, you can guarantee if Martin pulls a hammy or tweaks his groin showboating at shortstop the mob squad will be all over the Blue Jays and Baseball Canada for their decision.
As you can see in the below videos the athletic Martin looks pretty good at the hot corner.
You would have to think the risk of injury is just as great if not greater behind the dish so why not let Martin moonlight at shortstop and see what happens.
Canada will more than likely not advance out of the first round seeing they are grouped with the Dominican Republic and the United States, so what could happen in three games, right it’s only three games.
Are the Blue Jays wrong in allowing Martin to play shortstop or even participate in the tourney completely? Interested to hear your thoughts.