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Dodgers' Joe Torre, an ex-catcher, needs to gives Russell Martin regular time off

July 5, 2010 |  9:54 am
Russell Martin rested Sunday. He actually sat out a game, an entire game.

Martin no doubt wanted to play. He always wants to play. His iron-man routine is admirable.

Yet, in the long-run, over the course of a 162-game season, it just doesn’t make sense for a catcher to play a much as Martin.

Manager Joe Torre needs to make rest a regular part of his approach with Martin. He needs to take one game off a week. At least over the next two months.

Martin has averaged 150 games a year over the last three seasons, and that’s beating your catcher up. It’s unnecessary and unwise.

Martin’s production has fallen in each of the last three seasons. There certainly could be other factors, but playing baseball’s most demanding position on almost a daily basis has to be one.

The thing hard to figure into this equation is Torre started his 17-year playing career as a catcher. For his first nine years, his primary position was behind the plate.

But he never played more than 114 games in any single season at catcher. That’s a long ways from Martin’s 150 the last three years.

Currently, Martin is having his worst season offensively (.245, four homers, 18 RBI) and probably defensively.

Torre has tried to get Martin a little more time off this season, but it’s time to make it a regular feature. Time for Martin to get every Sunday off and know he’ll get a day to recharge.

A.J. Ellis is at least a capable backup, certainly behind the plate. Give him a regular start, and Martin a regular day off.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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