At 24, Martin 'poised beyond his years'
LOS ANGELES -- When asked recently about the toughness of his young catcher, Dodgers manager Grady Little compared him to an older man who enters a hospital with tightness in his chest and is told by the doctor that he'd just suffered a minor heart attack. Actually, the doctor says, there were probably two or three before that, but the old man never knew it because he ignored the pain.Little sees that stubborn, pain-resistant older man behind the plate in Los Angeles. His 24-year-old catcher, Russell Martin, plays the game in a young man's body but with an old man's brain. And he plays it at high speed, always with intensity and unflinchingly hard. "Russell is the type of kid that when he gets in the older phase of his life he may break a bone in his arm or something," Little says, "and some doctor will tell him that this thing has been broken four times before. And Russell maybe never knew it. "I'm telling you, this kid is tough. We keep our fingers crossed every day about his health and his ability to continue to play." Because of his play, in just his second year, Martin already is considered a leader by most of his team. And he's leading National League catchers in most offensive categories while handling a staff full of veterans, en route to what Martin and the Dodgers hope is his first All-Star Game. "No question," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti says when asked whether Martin is a leader. "I see him like I used to see Mike Scioscia when he caught here. You knew that Mike Scioscia was a guy who can lead a club, maybe there's a similarity in that."
I have a great sense of calm and confidence when he's in the game or at the plate. I don't think he gets distracted by the unknown. A lot of people get distracted by what they don't know. I think he has enough confidence in who he is and his abilities to play.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti on Russell Martin