Russell Martin faces an uncertain future with the Dodgers

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Russell Martin has missed 45 games since suffering a season-ending hip injury in early August and so yesterday Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times chatted with the Dodgers catcher about his future.
Martin replied “of course” when asked if he wants to remain with the Dodgers, but then responded “I have to discuss that with my agent” when asked if he’d consider inking a 2011 contract before the December 12 deadline to tender arbitration.
By doing so Martin could avoid the risk of being non-tendered and the Dodgers could avoid having to give him a raise on his current $5 million salary via the arbitration process. “I don’t like to think ahead too much, you know?” Martin told Hernandez.
It’s tough to blame him too much for thinking a discounted, pre-arbitration deal with the Dodgers may not be a great decision, because while Martin’s production has dropped off in recent years and he’s now sidelined by a major injury it’s still difficult to imagine him not getting a multi-year contract as a free agent.
Or put another way, while his .249/.350/.330 production since the beginning of 2009 is disappointing and represents a huge dropoff from his 2006-2008 production it’s still above average for a catcher. Obviously the injury complicates his status quite a bit, but Hernandez reports that Martin is expected to avoid surgery and he’s still just 27 years old (albeit 27 years old with a ton of wear and tear).

Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.