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Martin puts the weight of his decision on himself

Martin There is a weighty issue revolving around catcher Russell Martin.

He reported to camp this spring about 25 pounds bigger than last year. His theory: He lost some pop last season and the extra muscle will help him regain his power stroke.

Last year he hit only seven home runs, with 53 RBI, compared with 13 and 69 in 2008, and 19 and 87 in 2007. The latter were both All-Star seasons. Last year he also hit a career-low .250.

So can the extra beef translate into a better offensive performance, while not limiting him behind the plate?

Skeptics are out there. Manager Joe Torre, a former catcher, said he’s uncertain whether it’s the correct approach.

''I don’t know," Torre said. "We’ll all wait and see.

"But he seems to be moving around all right. I watch him do some agility drills with the catching, because it’s going to show more there, but he seems to be fine.

"But I think we’re all going to find out at the same time."’
Russell said his weight fell last season because he was eating a healthier diet. This off-season Martin said he went with a compromise diet and hit the weight room hard.

"He’s certainly not fat," Torre said. "He’s just wants to have a better year. We’re trying to get him comfortable offensively, because I think that’s what really stirs the whole thing. He knows what he’s done in the past and wants to recapture that. He’s been working diligently with (hitting coaches) Jeff Pentland and Don Mattingly.

"And he’s not forgetting the defensive part. I think he’s certainly a big key for us."

Meanwhile, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, who suffered a major drop-off after his National League Rookie of the Year season in 2008, went the opposite direction. Soto said he lost 40 pounds in the off-season.

Is one approach right and the other wrong? Does it just depend upon the individual?

It’s not exactly challenging to notice the extra pounds on Martin. And if he is hardly sporting a "Men’s Fitness" cover-boy six pack, the additional weight does appear to be mostly extra muscle.

"It’s not something where he just sat around and ate bonbons," Torre said. "He just worked in a different way."

It’s certainly a different approach from last season. One plenty will be watching.

-- Steve Dilbeck, reporting from Phoenix

Photo: Russell Martin. Credit: Arleen Ng / EPA

Comments () | Archives (11)

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how different is russ' weight from the 2007 and 2008 years?

Only time will tell if this is going to work, but I don't blame Russell for trying to do something to get his offensive game going.
The same goes for Loney and his new muscles.

Our beloved Mr. Martin aspires to be half the backstop Tom Prince twice the girth.

LV Blue: Martins weight has been listed at 210 by the Dodgers forever, but he claims in came in lighter than normal last season and hes 25 pounds heavier.

Please. This is HGH. Will you guys stop it. He diets and lifts weights. The off-season BEGAN in November. In 90 days he put on 25 pounds of muscle?? What are you guys smoking?

I think Torre was right on the mark when he said that Martin is a "big key" this season. I'm pretty sure the rest of the lineup will produce (well, I'm not so sure about the left fielder and whoever plays second), so if Martin bats .280-285 with 14-15 homers and 75-80 RBIs, he will have done his share. The extra weight/muscle should help prevent him from running out of gas in August and September, something he's done in the past.

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meanwhile, Dylan writes, "Even without an ace, Dodgers' pitching looks strong"

hay Dylan, please come back with that same headline in Sept and see who swallows it

...steroid check?

This has always amazed me. Why the Dodgers put so much stock in Russell Martin. This guy is THE most over rated catcher in major league baseball today. You could go into triple A and bring up anybody comparable right now. He has the worst arm in baseball. He never throws anybody out, and he can't hit in the clutch.


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