Russell Martin Becomes First Dodgers Player To Pitch, Catch & Play Third Base In Single Season

Three outs away from completing a sweep of the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts tapped into his team’s versatility by moving Justin Turner over to second base, shifting Kiké Hernandez out to right field, and inserting Russell Martin at third.

Martin pinch-hit in the bottom of the eighth inning prior to remaining in the game. By doing so, he became the first player in Dodgers franchise history to pitch, catch and play third base in a single season, per STATS LLC.

“He was just excited to get out there and play defense at third base,” Roberts said after the 9-0 win. “For him to take the at-bat, that was big, but unfortunately we didn’t get him a chance at third base.”

Heading into the regular season, Roberts said he didn’t anticipate Martin playing third base. “With our roster, I don’t see it happening. But things are unpredictable,” Roberts explained at the time.

“I do think it’s good for a guy that’s not playing every day to go out there and move around, work on his hands, keeps his legs in shape. I think that’s good, I really do. I think there’s more of a chance to see Austin (Barnes) out there to play second base sometimes, potentially to keep a catcher in a game if I feel we need to.”

Although Sunday’s appearance at third base may not be the start of a trend for Martin, his ability to play the position could be of further benefit if and when Will Smith is recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Martin’s pitching debut came during a Dodgers blowout victory in their Opening Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. With the game well in hand, he was summoned to pitch in the ninth inning, and retired the side in order with relative ease.

The opportunity to take the mound was something Martin relished and he made history along the way. He became the first position player to close out the ninth inning of a win since left fielder Willie Smith did so for the Detroit Tigers in 1963.

Moreover, Martin was the first full-time position player to toss a 1-2-3 ninth inning of a win since at least 1925.

Although it was with the Dodgers on the wrong end of a matchup with the Diamondbacks, he pitched again on June 26 and once more retired all three batters faced. That time, Martin picked up a strikeout and said the relief appearance was not something he took lightly.