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Russell Martin withdraws from World Baseball Classic

Feb 24, 2013, 8:57 AM EDT

russell martin baseball reference Getty Images

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According to beat writer Tom Singer of, Martin has withdrawn from the event because the Pirates and officials from Team Canada have told him that they don’t want him playing anything but catcher for fear that he might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

  1. cowboysoldiertx - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    I can’t really blame the man. Besides Team C has zero chance anyway.

    • mattjg - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      Russell Martin is clearly concerned about playing for teams that don’t have a chance.

    • yankeehawk - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      Yeah cowboy….about the same chance as the U.S….

  2. dondada10 - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Why not just catch? He’s better than Chris Robinson.

    • paperlions - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Maybe because catchers only have so many games behind the plate in them each year and he’d rather use them in Pittsburgh? But really, who knows?

      • dondada10 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:18 AM

        I hear you, but would he catch that much more innings than he would at spring training?

      • paperlions - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        Doubt it.

        Maybe he just figured it was a chance to play the game for fun….and to him catching is more like a job…..and as long as it is going to be work, he may as well work with the unfamiliar pitchers on his new team.

  3. albertmn - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    This was actually one of the stories that held some interest for me, in regard to the WBC. I don’t have much interest in the WBC, but it will be even less now.

  4. pisano - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    I’m thinking he doesn’t want anything to interfere with that .211 average he had last year, while he is a good catcher defensively, and he will run into a few fastballs for home runs, but average wise, and his strikeouts, I’m glad he’s in Pittsburgh.

  5. atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    He’s never played an inning of shortstop in his MLB career, although he did apparently play 2 innings at second base in the 2011 season. How is it that he thinks he’s entitled to play shortstop at this tournament?

    With Lawrie, Votto and Morneau they have a good middle of the lineup, they also have a good bullpen but this starting staff is a definite question mark.

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