Russell Martin homers twice in win over Twins

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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.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.