Earlier this week on Twitter, I mentioned that Russell Martin hasn’t done squat since the start his red-hot April. Well, he has shut me up over the past few days.
On the heels of driving in two runs on Wednesday and hitting a solo homer on Thursday, Martin went 3-for-4 with two homers and three RBI in last night’s 8-1 win over the Twins.
After hitting just .201/.309/.287 with four homers, six doubles and a .596 OPS over 59 games from May through July, Martin is batting .269/.291/.596 with five homers, four doubles and an .887 OPS this month.
The reason for the recent offensive surge? Martin tells Chad Jennings of the Journal News that he feels fresh.
“I feel like it’s April right now,” he said. “Seriously. The way Joe’s been giving me rest, I’ve never had a year like this where I’ve been fully rested like I am now. I’ve got to give it up to him, because I’m not going to take days off. They’re going to have to give it to me.”
Long known as being one of the most durable catchers in the majors, Martin appeared in at least 143 games per season from 2007-2009 as a member of the Dodgers. He has managed to stay healthy this season while appearing in just 96 games. And with the Yankees a near-lock to make the playoffs, he should get plenty of rest down the stretch.
On Friday, Athletics teammates Billy Butler and Danny Valencia were involved in a clubhouse altercation that started when Butler told an equipment representative that Valencia was wearing off-brand spikes during games. Valencia didn’t like Butler’s interference, potentially costing him an endorsement deal, so he punched Butler in the temple, causing a concussion.
Neither player had said much to the media about the incident, but Butler finally addressed the issue on Wednesday. MLB.com’s Mark Chiarelli reported Butler’s comments:
“This was something that could’ve been prevented on both sides,” Butler said. “We had equal faults in this. I definitely said some things that you shouldn’t have. I definitely stepped in an area where it wasn’t my business.”
“By no means do I think his intentions were to give me a concussion,” Butler said. “This is me addressing my faults and what I took away from the team.”
“To say that we’re enemies is not right,” Butler said. “To blame this all on one side is not right either.”
Butler also apologized to his teammates. “I would like to apologize for putting [my teammates] through this because they didn’t deserve this. This was an issue between me and Danny. To be fair for them, they didn’t deserve this. The coaching staff didn’t deserve this. The organization didn’t deserve this,” he said.
Butler is making progress in his recovery from his concussion. He’ll travel with the team to St. Louis to open up a three-game series against the Cardinals starting on Friday. If he passes his concussion protocol test, the Athletics will put him back on the active roster from the seven-day concussion disabled list.
WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval has lost 22 pounds during his rehabilitation after undergoing shoulder surgery in early May. Weight has been the top subject of conversation regarding Sandoval ever since he showed up to spring training and an unflattering photograph was published by the Boston Globe.
Sandoval had a miserable spring training, batting .204 in 49 at-bats and lost out on the starting third base job to Travis Shaw. He went hitless in seven regular season plate appearances before landing on the disabled list with a sprained left shoulder, which ultimately required reconstructive surgery.
Sandoval is still under contract through at least 2019, earning $17 million next season, and $18 million in ’18 and ’19. His controlling club has a $17 million option with a $5 million buyout for 2020 as well. It’s hard to see Sandoval fitting into his current club’s future plans, but it will be tough for the Red Sox to get rid of him without eating a significant portion of his remaining contract.