Monday, March 10, 2008

Gammons' Grapefruit Gems Mention Martin

In his "eight to watch" column recapping the highlights of the Grapefruit League,'s Peter Gammons is watching Russell Martin, among others (insider subscription required):

6. Russell Martin: The game's best catcher approaches his craft like Varitek, accepts responsibility for his pitchers, and has been a leader amid the veterans/kids media war of last winter. Larry Bowa loves to watch him take ground balls at his original position, shortstop. "We could put him at shortstop," says Bowa, "and he'd be fine."


The torn ligament in Andy LaRoche's thumb is a significant blow to the Dodgers, as LaRoche had opened many eyes and has a chance to be a legitimate power bat at the corner. Unless they change their minds and trade for Brandon Inge -- which doesn't seem likely -- that means Nomar Garciaparra will open the season as the third baseman. Dodgers coaches say Garciaparra has had a very good spring swinging the bat, and they appreciate that his all-out, unorthodox fielding style is not easily translated to third base. But it had been a majority opinion on the staff that Nomar would not have been happy as LaRoche's caddy or as a utilityman, so the loss of LaRoche probably ensures that the Dodgers will not have to make a decision on whether or not to eat his contract.


The talk of Dodgers camp has been 19-year old left-hander Clayton Kershaw. "He's going to help us this year," says Russell Martin. "He has dominant stuff, a great curveball you can almost hear." Some of the coaches suggest Kershaw might be able to help right now, but more likely he will open the season in the minors. Kershaw has only five starts above the A level, but between A and AA last season struck out 163 in 122 innings. Also in Dodgers camp, Larry Bowa is sold on the future of SS Chin-Lung Hu. "He can really play defense," says Bowa.

I suppose all it takes to get a Gammons mention is to play the Red Sox every once in a while. Suddenly, we've got some wicked pissah commentary (take that, Charlie Chowda!).


Orel said...

"Like Varitek." How unGammonslike.