With no disrespect to Angel Guzman (and best of wishes to him on a speedy recovery and return to pitching), the most significant injury endured this spring has to be Russell Martin’s groin pull. The initial diagnosis is that Martin will miss a month and some change, casting doubt on being the Dodgers’ opening day catcher.
Not to get all poetic and artsy here, but … groin pulls are bad. Just read the Rotowire excerpt about Torii Hunter in which he hears “good news” about a “popping sound” stemming from the groin area and try to not wince. Especially for men who make their living off being able to bend and squat for hours at a time. Allow me to defer to those more qualified on what this injury could mean for Martin’s long-term health, and instead look at what this means for the Dodgers.
For one, those attending the Dodgers’ spring games will mostly see Brad Ausmus or A.J. Ellis behind the dish. Dave Cameron discussed Ellis here. The book on Ellis is simple: He walks quite a bit, catches, and offers little else in the way of baseball skills. The book on Ausmus is the Old Testament. He oozes seniority, so he’s Joe Torre’s new Joe Girardi. This duo is unexciting and rather uninspiring. The good news though, is that Martin missing a few games really isn’t a big deal.
That’s not to comment on the potential for re-irritating the injury down the road, just the initial timetable, and it’s not to say this is good news. It’s just not a huge deal. Say Martin misses 10 games to start the season. That’s something like 35-40 plate appearances. CHONE has Martin contributing 8 runs over 596 plate appearances, or 0.013 runs per plate appearance. Times 35, that’s a little under a half a run. That’s it over a 10 game stretch.
You have to factor in Ellis and Ausmus’ lack of contributions too and there’s the whole defensive aspect that I’m blatantly ignoring, but the reality is that Martin missing 10 games doesn’t change the landscape of the division much, if at all.