J.D. Martinez hitting well but searching for more
Jupiter, Fla. – You almost can't wait to see what happens when J.D. Martinez's swing starts to feel good.
He hit his third home run of the spring Sunday off Marlins right-hander Preston Claiborne. He also hit a first-inning double off starter Dan Haren. And yet, he said he has been in search mode at the plate.
"I feel my swing – and it's spring, that's what it's time for – has been real inconsistent," he said. "I feel like every time I'm going up there I'm thinking about something else and I'm kind of working on something. This and that.
"Today I was working on something. Trying to get an old feel back."
He came into the game hitting .348 with 15 total bases in eight games. Hard to imagine it feeling all that bad.
"Four months of not hitting a baseball, you lose what you were thinking, your keys, little things like that," he said. "Every day you try to find that key or that thing. Today, I was able to put some good at-bats together and for the most part not chase too many pitches out of the zone.
"That's kind of what I'm looking for right now. Finding my keys and putting together good at-bats and swinging at strikes."
Second baseman Ian Kinsler isn't fond of missing games, even in the spring.
He missed his third straight game with a left shoulder strain Sunday. He will miss Monday, too, before returning to the lineup Tuesday.
"He says he feels better and was willing to come and play tomorrow," manager Brad Ausmus said. "But I'm going to give him one more day and then he'll play Tuesday at home and Wednesday at Bradenton.
"Then on Wednesday in Bradenton, he and (shortstop Jose) Iglesias can get back on track."
Catcher James McCann caught his fourth straight game Sunday, which is just fine with him.
"I will take any opportunity I am given and try to take advantage of it," said McCann, who had a single in three at-bats Sunday and was 1-for-3 throwing runners out at second. He nabbed Ichiro in the sixth.
Bryan Holaday, who is battling McCann for the backup catcher's role, also caught four in a row before getting Sunday off.
"That's what happens when you've got (starting catcher) Alex Avila hurt," Ausmus said. "But I am not concerned. You're talking about Holaday and McCann, I am not concerned about them. They will play anytime they are asked. They never complain about being tired."