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MLB: New York Yankees Signing of Russell Martin Paying off Early in Season

Yankees' catcher Russell Martin hit 2 home runs and drove in 4 runs in Saturday's 9-4 win over the Red Sox.
Yankees' catcher Russell Martin hit 2 home runs and drove in 4 runs in Saturday's 9-4 win over the Red Sox.Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Orly Rios Jr.Analyst IIApril 9, 2011

Eight games into the 2011 season, former Los Angeles Dodgers' catcher Russell Martin may be the best signing in the American League.

The New York Yankees picked up Martin, despite rumors circulating that they were about to call up one of their prized prospects, catcher Jesus Montero from the minors.

Instead, Martin won the job in spring training and so far, his signing along with his bat have allowed the Yankees to play around with their lineup, moving Jorge Posada to the DH spot full time.

The result? Martin is .321 with three home runs and eight RBI and most of this while hitting near the bottom of the lineup.

In the long run, Martin may ease the pressure off the Yankees to call up Montero from the minors or allow them, as they almost did last season, to trade Montero because of the early offensive production of Russell Martin.

Just 28 years old, Martin is two years removed from being named to his second All-Star selection (2007 and 2008).

His offensive production had dropped every year since 2007, thanks in some part to injuries and after the Dodgers released Martin in December, he signed a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Yankees.

On Saturday afternoon, Martin, hitting ninth in the lineup, blasted two home runs. The first, a three-run shot over the Green Monster, came off a hanging curve ball off Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz. The blast extended the Yankee lead to 5-1.

Martin's second shot came off former Yankee relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves, a blast to the last row of the Green Monster to put the finishing touches on the Yankees 9-4.

So far, so good for both the Yankees and Russell Martin.

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