Russell Martin Enjoyed Dodgers Debut, Delivering 2-Run Double With Bases Loaded
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers reunited with a former player for a second time in the past two years this winter, first acquiring Matt Kemp in December 2017, then trading for Russell Martin in January.

They won’t play together, as Kemp was packaged with Kyle Farmer, Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds. Meanwhile, Martin returned to the organization that selected him in the 17th round of the 2002 Draft.

Martin made his Dodgers debut on Saturday, starting as the designated hitter and batting fifth. Any natural excitement over his first at-bat was amplified when it came with the bases loaded.

Martin flared a two-run double down the right-field line to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. “I felt some pressure in that first at-bat,” he told “Bases loaded, first at-bat of the spring. It was just nice to get out there, wear the Dodger uniform and kind of get back in the swing of things.

“Body feels good, been working on my swing a lot. It’s nice to get some positive reinforcement right out the gate. Good start.”

Considering he wasn’t behind the plate in the Cactus League opener, Martin prioritized carrying over his work with the bat. “There was a focus on just make sure the things I had been working on in the cage are playing out during the game, when the thinking speed picks up a little bit, the intensity, the feel,” he said. “Everything accelerates, and you just kind of want to slow things down.

“I felt like I was able to do that. It’s not just results or performance-orientated. It’s a feel, and I felt pretty good. I felt like I took some good swings.”

Martin is now due to catch Hyun-Jin Ryu on Sunday, which will bring about a new focus. “When I start catching, it’s going to be different,” he said. “I’m going to catch a bunch of guys I haven’t caught before. I’m excited about that, too.”