Martin sheds catcher's gear to play third base

Martin sheds catcher's gear to play third base

TORONTO -- Russell Martin made a surprise appearance taking over at third base for the Blue Jays in the ninth inning of their 8-7 loss to the Red Sox on Friday night.

With regular third baseman Josh Donaldson serving as the designated hitter due to a sore right calf, and his replacement Darwin Barney lifted for pinch-hitter Justin Smoak in the eighth, the Blue Jays turned to Martin to take over at the hot corner. Josh Thole took Martin's place behind the plate.

Martin, the starting catcher, played two innings at second base for Blue Jays last season, the only other position he's played for the team in the field. The 33-year-old was immediately pressed into game action, retiring Xander Bogaerts on a sharp ground ball on the first pitch of the inning. At the plate, Martin went 1-for-4 and scored a run.

Martin scores on HBP

"I told him right before he went out there, I said, 'Hey, you know the first guy is going to hit the ball to you, be ready,'" Donaldson said about his interaction with Martin prior to the ninth inning. "He was like, 'I know.' Sure enough, look at what happens."

A 17th-round pick of the Dodgers in the 2002 Draft, Martin is no stranger to playing the infield or outfield prior to his time in Toronto, having played third base, second base and the outfield in addition to his regular catching duties. Martin last played third base as a member of the Pirates, getting into three games during the 2013 season.

Alykhan Ravjiani is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.