Russell Martin withdraws from World Baseball Classic

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Russell Martin told reporters earlier this month that he was planning to play shortstop for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. But it won’t happen.

According to beat writer Tom Singer of MLB.com, Martin has withdrawn from the event because the Pirates and officials from Team Canada have told him that they don’t want him playing anything but catcher for fear that he might suffer an injury.

“They both were uneasy about that and I simply didn’t want to catch,” said Martin, who was born in East York, Ontario. “I feel sorry for (Team Canada), but sometimes you just have to look out for what’s best for you. You have to make a personal choice. But I’m really sorry for how all this went down.”

Martin signed a two-year, $17 million free agent contract with the Bucs in late November and will open the 2013 season as Pittsburgh’s starting catcher. He hit .211/.311/.403 with 21 homers for the Yankees in 2012.