Blister complicates Anderson’s efforts
MINNEAPOLIS — What does game 147 of his first lost season as a Blue Jay mean to Russell Martin?
Well, for starters, the competitor in the veteran catcher knows his team can do some damage to the Twins wildcard playoff hopes over a four-game series that began here on Thursday night.
Thenthereistheinjectionofenthusiasm provided by the September call ups, who have brought some freshness and success to the Jays over the past couple of weeks.
But most of all, Martin wants to finish 2017 without pain and misery. Physically recovered from an oblique strain that kept him out of 30 games, the remaining dates on the schedule offer a chance to gather some positive vibes.
“My goal was just to get back and get healthy,” said Martin, who returned to the Jays lineup on Wednesday in Toronto and is with the team here in the Twin Cities. “It’s part of being professional.
“That’s one of the goals. But also to win as many games as we can from here on out and see what these young players can do. At the same time, on a personal level I want to play well and feel good going onto the off season.
“You want to feel enthused, even when things haven’t gone so well.”
The oblique injury was doubly frustrating for Martin, who hadn’t suffered anything like it in his 12-year major league career. He first noticed it in batting practice of an Aug. 11 game against the Pirates and then with one swing of the bat — boom, he was off to the DL.
Martin was given the night off for Thursday’s opener, after getting the start on Wednesday back home against the Orioles. Manager John Gibbons said he expects his veteran to be behind the plate to catch J.A. Happ on Friday and Marco Estrada on Saturday. It’s certainly a different September for the Canadianborn Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Brett Anderson throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of a baseball game on Thursday in Minneapolis.
catcher, who in his two previous seasons with the Jays was gearing up for a playoff push in September, a perfect outlet for his proven competitiveness. Playing out the string is something he’ll battle to avoid.
Is the failure of a season that never gathered any meaningful positive momentum frustrating? As it is with the veteran constituency of a clubhouse that is being denied a third consecutive playoff berth, of course it is for Martin as well. While there are plenty of reasons for the Jays inability to climb out of the AL East basement for even a single game of the season, Martinpointstooneareathathasbeen a consistent area of ineptitude.
“If I could think of one thing, it’s how we’ve collectively hit with guys in scoring position,” Martin said. “We had a down year. Trying to find a reason for it though, it’s tough. I think we can do a much better job hitting with guys in scoring position than we have this season.”
The easy road to go down is by analyzing the Jays season-long injury ward. Don’t go there, Martin advises.
“It’s been tough, but every team goes through injuries,” Martin said. “It’s not an excuse. The common thing is to go out there and keep playing, put the teem first and never lose sight of that.”
Both the Stratford Central Rams and Northwestern Huskies started the boys high school baseball season with a pair of wins. Central defeated St. Anne’s 10-6 as Sam Near struck out nine over four innings. Andrew Barber pitched well in relief and added two singles on offence. In the second game, Cameron Lynn pitch a complete game and struck out five as the Rams beat Central Huron 7-0. Carson Teolis hit two singles, and Ethan Zehr added a two-run double. The defending champion Huskies defeated Goderich and St. Marys. In the first game, Reilly Deline pitched a complete game as Northwestern beat Goderich 9-1. Riley Sykes went 3-for-4 at the plate. Deline and Jordan Tessmer both hit doubles and scored two runs. In the second game, Jake Ford picked up the win as the Huskies defeated St. Marys 16-4. Max Hall, Tessmer and Deline all went 2-for-3 with Tessmer lining a triple to the right-field fence to clear the bases. The Huskies’ next game is next Wednesday at SERC when they host St. Mike’s and Central.