Scouts are growing increasingly critical of Russell Martin’s defense…
…Martin, one scout says, “has gotten worse each week — he’s not catching well and he’s not throwing well.” Two other scouts were less harsh in their assessment of Martin, but one said, “He hasn’t really excited anyone at all.”
The Yankees have gotten lucky with their pitching this spring. Nearly all of the options pitched well, nobody is hurt, and all things considered they have a solid rotation going into the season.
Things have not gone quite as well with the competition behind home plate. Martin got off to a slow start due to knee surgery which appears to be effecting him more and more as spring training goes on, Francisco Cervelli broke his foot, and Jesus Montero has not played well enough to grab a job that should have easily have been his. Austin Romine certainly hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been good enough to warrant a jump from Double-A to the Bronx.
So now the Yankees will go into the season with a catcher slowed by an injury (I thought Jorge Posada isn’t the catcher anymore) and Gustavo Molina as their backup. This isn’t exactly inspiring, we’re not supposed to be counting down the days for Cervelli’s return.
The thing to keep in perspective though is that spring training stats really don’t mean anything. Montero will go back down to the minors and he will eventually find his comfort level. When he does that, if the Yankees are still dealing with catching issues, they can call him back up and he could potentially be a big contributor. This isn’t some kid who is a year or two away. He is very likely going to help this team this year. It’s probably why the Yankees took such a risk with Martin even though he is recovering from knee surgery.