Thursday, May 25, 2006

Russell Martin's Stats Top Injured Dioner Navarro's

Another nine games and Dodgers reserve catcher Russell Martin will have played just as much as injured starter Dioner Navarro. With Navarro still unable to swing a bat because of a wrist injury, Martin still has time to take away the starter's role, though it will be difficult to do so. Navarro, 22, the more advanced of the two, had a highly satisfactory bat when he went on the DL, hitting .280 with a .372 OBP and .387 slugging average. But the right-handed batting Martin, 23, is hitting .305 with a .388 OBP and .458 slugging, and has been hitting righties better than Navarro even though Navarro can switch-hit. Both are playing well ahead of their years defensively, are calling good games and are throwing well. Martin, however, is cultivating a potential advantage as he is favorably compared to former Dodgers catcher Paul LoDuca and is a quick study under the tutelage of third-string catcher Sandy Alomar, 39. On the other hand, Navarro is Alomar's personal favorite. Alomar isn't going anyplace and it seems unlikely the Dodgers would carry three catchers. That means that eventually either Navarro or Martin will have to go to Las Vegas for regular playing time. If Navarro recovers completely within a couple of weeks or so, expect Martin to have to play like Johnny Bench to avoid being the odd man out.