Not much has changed with the Pirates roster over the off-season, but a move they did make that’s expected to make a difference is bringing in catcher Russell Martin.
“Russell is very passionate about the game of baseball, but he goes about it the right way, and he’s got all the tools,” said Pirates second baseman Neil Walker. “He’s really an athlete back there, and I think he’s going to be a huge asset for us.”
Where Martin’s hoped to bring the biggest change is with the pitching staff, who saw their team ERA increase from 3.47 before the All-Star break to 4.29 afterward.
“He believes in them,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “He speaks greatness to them. He challenges them. He’s very good with a pat on the back or a smack on the backside. Both are appropriate. Timing is everything. His presentation’s been good in those situations because he’s already challenged some guys, as well.”
Martin added, “They need to be challenging themselves to give their best and to really work to the best of their ability. And that’s what, really, my goal is to do. Is to get them to go out there and compete and really give their best effort.”
The Pirates best effort still hasn’t produced a winning season in 20 years, but inside the clubhouse, Martin feels they are ready.
“There’s really that team bond,” Martin said. “That good vibe that you want in a team. Something that I’ve never really experienced before, so hopefully our closeness will carry us through the season.”[lin_video src=http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/iframe?aspect_ratio=3×2&auto_start=0&pf_id=9626&rel=3&show_title=0&va_id=4002837&volume=8&windows=1 service=syndicaster width=425 height=330 type=iframe]