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Friday, May 15, 2009
Russ Martin's recipe for success

Russell Martin was pretty good last season. Not as good as the season before, though. To his credit, he wanted to be better this season, and he really did think about how to do that. So, what happened in 2008? Ken Gurnick:
And what's this about Manny the Great Leader? It all sounds so wonderful, doesn't it? An organized girlfriend (who just happens to be a model), a wonderful new teammate like Ramirez, and a top-notch offseason training program ... How could that not work?

But of course it hasn't. Not yet, anyway. All of the above was said and written in late January, just before spring training. Today we're nearly six weeks into the season, and Martin's numbers are the worst of his career. Yes, it's early. That power he's looking for, though? It's disappeared. His batting average is right in line with his career mark, his on-base percentage even better. But he's not homered even once this season, and he's not balancing that zero with doubles and triples.

Maybe it's just one of those spring flukes we see every year. But the early evidence suggests that whatever Martin did last winter made him not stronger, but weaker. And at the very least, we've got yet another object lesson in not taking optimistic winter pronouncements too seriously.