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Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Russell Martin: I don't tip pitches

By Andrew Marchand

A satellite radio suggestion on Tuesday that he tips pitches didn't really sit well with Russell Martin.

The Yankees catcher shook his head when told about the comments of Sirius/XM's Kevin Kennedy and Jim Duquette. Martin had apparently already heard about them.

"It is really not a problem," Martin said. "People can say whatever they want, but you are not giving rotation when a guy is in his windup."

The subect arose from a Sirius/XM discussion between Duquette, the ex-Met GM, and Kennedy, a former catcher and manager.

Here is the transcript, courtesy of Sirius/XM

Duquette: "Russell Martin, how this has gone on all year I'll never
know.  But it hasn't really been picked up all that much and really
hasn't hurt them seemingly right now.  I'll be curious if it will hurt
them against some of the better teams or in the postseason.  You're
watching David Robertson pumping fastballs against Adam Jones late in
the game, an important at-bat, the Orioles are down a run.  Here comes a
breaking ball and Russell Martin is, Kev, what did you text me?"

Kennedy: "He had his tail up high, and early.  I texted you that I'm
calling every pitch about 3 seconds, 5 seconds before it is released."

Duquette: "As a hitter you can't really see it but you can certainly be
signaled.  As a right handed hitter the first base coach could signal
something to you, or if there is a runner on base, you're down there at
second base, you don't even need to know the signs."

Kennedy: "Was it [Nick] Markakis who stole second on the curveball?  It
made me wonder if he saw, I mean, the situation dictated a curve, that
could be one thing, but also you could see that Russ had his tail up
higher.  Clearly his tail was really low when Robertson was throwing his
fastball.  And he threw a bunch of fastballs in a row.  The situation
with Adam Jones up dictated a curve ball, two strikes, even
[broadcaster] Jim Palmer said that, you gotta believe he's going to
throw a curve here.  And so Markakis steals second and, sure enough, a
couple of beats before Robertson starts his delivery Martin sets up
early and you could see his tail up.  And I'm saying curveball.  So what
I'm saying is, coaches can see that, the first base coach can see that,
the third base coach can see that.  There are ways to relay that to the
hitter whether you just yell his name or say, 'Come on, Adam,' or
whatever.  There's all different kinds of ways you can relay that, if
that's what you're into.  Some teams aren't into it.  But I'm just
telling you if you were my catcher and I'm going to the postseason and
let's say I play against the Red Sox, I don't want my catcher
telegraphing pitches.  Because there's going to be a couple players that
are smart and will get it, there's going to be a couple coaches that are
smart that will get it. I guarantee there are coaches out there
listening to us right now that see the same thing we're talking about.
I guarantee it is in somebody's report, guarantee it."

Kennedy: "And for people that don't know what I'm talking about, [the
catcher is] sitting up higher on a curveball because you're anticipating
in the dirt you've got to block it, especially with men on base or two
strikes, two outs.  That's what we're talking about.  A lot of guys will
sit low on a fastball.  I saw it all year with Dioner Navarro who is no
longer with the Dodgers.  I mean, you could call every pitch. ... Some
pitchers will tell you, 'Hey, set up early for me.'  But you've got to
explain to your pitcher, especially with men on base, if I set up too
early the hitter can feel location and the pitch can get relayed.  So
that's what we're talking about.  It just hit me last night, said, 'You
know, I'm going to watch him tonight,' because I hate to keep hitting on
this with him because I like the guy a lot, he's having a nice year for
them, but it is hard for me to believe that with Tony Pena there and Joe
that they haven't seen this and addressed this with him.  But
he's still doing it."