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Russell Martin continues spiral as frustration for Dodgers catcher boils over

June 28, 2010 |  9:27 am
He slammed the bat down in the batter’s box, the bat breaking clean, half left in his hand, half of it flying. Russell Martin let out an almost primal scream.

Home-plate umpire Chris Guccione immediately ejected him.

Was it an outpouring of emotion over the moment, the incredible ninth-inning meltdown, the increasingly agonizing personal season?

"I don’t know, dude, it was just the reaction I had," Martin said. "Just out of frustration, I don’t know why."

Martin had suffered through another tough night in the Dodgers’ 8-6 loss to the Yankees Sunday.

Already in a miserable slump, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He is now in a 2-for-27 skid that has seen his batting average slip to .241. Martin has only 17 RBI in 245 at-bats.

Behind the plate, he continues to be dogged by inconsistency. He’s been charged with five passed balls, third in the majors, while Dodgers pitchers have thrown 29 wild pitches, 11th in the National League.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers have fallen five games back of the Padres in the NL West.

That’s a lot of things for a 27-year-old catcher who is supposed to be in his prime to be frustrated about. Whether it all boiled over in that moment or was simply a reaction to Guccione’s call, Martin was uncertain.

"Just frustrated, I didn’t mean for it to go flying right next to him," he said. "I let some frustration out.

"I saw the replay, it was a strike on the corner. It’s just frustrating. I’d seen that pitch called a ball on us the previous inning, so …"

So it goes for Martin, and not well. Not the way he or the Dodgers need. And not any way for it to continue if the Dodgers are to contend.

-- Steve Dilbeck