Russell Martin bows out of WBCThe Pirates catcher was going to play shortstop for Canada
BRADENTON, Fla. - Russell Martin won't be moonlighting at shortstop after all.
Pittsburgh's new catcher will not play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic because Canadian and Pirates officials weren't enamored with the idea of Martin moving from his normal position.
"It's a pretty simple reason," Martin said Sunday. "The Pittsburgh Pirate organization wasn't comfortable (with) me going to play shortstop over there. I don't think the Team Canada organization was too comfortable with me going to play shortstop."
Martin, who is from East York, Ontario, said he would rather not add to his workload by catching during the WBC. The three-time All-Star was drafted as a third baseman by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002 before he was moved to catcher.
"I didn't want to put my body in a position where I'm going to have to catch however many innings of baseball during the tournament," Martin said. "I didn't want to put my body through the taxing experience."
Martin said last week he was looking forward to playing shortstop for Team Canada. The 30-year-old signed a $17 million, two-year contract with the Pirates in December and he said he'll use the extra time in spring training to get familiar with Pittsburgh's pitching staff.
"It wasn't that hard of a decision," Martin said. "There's the feeling of I might be letting my teammates down, my Canadian teammates, but that's something that I'm sure I'll get over."