Pittsburgh Pirates Catcher Russell Martin Bails On His Country

By Clayton Richer
Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Canadian catcher Russell Martin has bailed on Team Canada pulling out of the World Baseball Classic a week before training camp is set to open.

Martin had expressed interest in playing shortstop for his country however Team Canada management had other plans for Martin.Team Canada is rather weak behind the dish if you factor out Martin so the coaching staff figured it would be easier to shore up the shortstop position with someone other than Martin.

Canadian catcher George Kottares would not commit to the tourney as he is battling for backup duties with the Kansas City Royals. The descion for Martin to play shortstop would have made sense if Kottares was on the squad to handle the catching duties.

Team Canada will now have to look at Chris Robinson to shore up the catcher duties if Martin doesn’t have a change of heart. Robinson is a career .275 hitter in eight minor league seasons but has never received the elusive call-up to the major leagues.

Martin who signed a mulit-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates had this to say about his decision to MLB.com.

Martin said both the Pirates and Canadian squad “were uneasy” about him playing shortstop and added, “I simply didn’t want to catch.”

“It’s just too much grind. The catcher’s out there the whole game and it just takes your body so long to recover from catching 20 innings or so. … I feel sorry for (Team Canada), but sometimes you just have to look out for what’s best for you. You have to make a personal choice. But I’m really sorry for how all this went down.”

Martin is just name on the long list of players opting out on the World Baseball Classic putting their personal interests ahead of their country.

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