The Blue Jays look like they’ve dodged a bullet, as Russell Martin was able to stay in the game after being hit on the throwing hand by a foul tip in Wednesday’s game.
Blue Jays fans, coaches, and teammates held their breath on Wednesday night, as Russell Martin took a foul tip off of his throwing hand against the Baltimore Orioles. The incident happened on a fastball to Mark Trumbo, with the ball hitting him pretty squarely on his exposed fingers.
The star catcher was visited on the field by John Gibbons and trainer George Poulos, and was ultimately able to stay in the game, much to the relief of, well, everyone. This wasn’t a breaking ball either, rather, a healthy fastball from J.A. Happ, who was hitting 94 on a regular basis on Wednesday.
Have a look for yourself courtesy of this gif from @GradySas.
As you can see, that wasn’t exactly a glancing blow. As mentioned above, Martin was surprisingly able to stay in the game and finished as well, so that’s definitely a good sign. If he was badly hurt, he likely would have had to admit it when it came time to hold a bat.
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While the Blue Jays are better equipped than last year, when an injury left them turning to Josh Thole on the depth chart, Martin’s health is very important to the success of the Blue Jays in 2017, as it has been since he arrived.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia sits on the depth chart as the back-up, and after that are names like Juan Graterol, Mike Ohlman, and Reese McGuire. They all performed admirably in spring action, but they would be hard pressed to produce the way Martin does at the MLB level.
“Salty” would figure to take over if Martin were to get hurt, as he at least has experience as an MLB starter. He has a .234/.309/.413 career slash line over 10 seasons, but hit just .171/.284/.346 in 246 at bats last season. He should make a fine back up, but the 31 year old is a stretch as a starter these days.
Despite the fact that the Canadian catcher was able to stay in the game, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him take the night off on Thursday, when the Jays are set to open a 4 game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Marcus Stroman will start the game, and he could be a candidate to pair with Saltalamacchia throughout the year in an effort to give Martin more time to rest.
We should know more soon if the situation turns into anything more, but don’t be surprised if Martin quietly deals with the soreness until it subsides. Hopefully it doesn’t hamper his ability to hit, as his offensive contribution has been a welcome bonus in addition to his All-Star level defence since arriving in Toronto.