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New Pirates acquisition Russell Martin: Catcher ... and infielder?

Pending a physical, Russell Martin will be Pittsburgh's new starting catcher. But in the spring, Pirates fans could also see Martin at shortstop.

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Newly acquired Pirate Russell Martin is known as a solid defender, but he can also play some infield. Fans shouldn't expect him to play anywhere except catcher in Pittsburgh, but Martin would like to play shortstop for Team Canada in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. According to a report from, Martin said, "If it's something that would help the team, I am willing to do it."

Canada already has Oakland catcher George Kottaras on the roster, so Martin has volunteered to move to shortstop, which he called his "most natural" position. Martin has never logged any major league time at short, but he has played a few innings at third and second.

Helping your team is great, but Martin is probably also considering the long season he has following the WBC, which will take place in March 2013. He will be 30 in the spring, and his production has declined recently. Although he showed some speed early in his career, Martin has not stolen more than eight bases since 2009. In addition, his batting average has decreased in each of the last five seasons.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.