Native Canadian Martin enjoys trip to Toronto

Native Canadian Martin enjoys trip to Toronto

Native Canadian Martin enjoys trip to Toronto
TORONTO -- Russell Martin was glad to be back home in Canada for a mini two-game set in Toronto. The Yankees backstop was born in East York, Ont., and grew up in the province of Quebec.

"The only reason I like it now is because more family comes and watches me play," Martin said about coming back to Toronto. "That's really the main thing, I think it's cool. Toronto doesn't feel like home, Montreal feels like home. Toronto is one of my favorite places to travel to. Not because it's Canada, it's because I like the city."

Martin left 15 tickets for friends and family for Thursday's series finale against the Blue Jays. He spent Wednesday catching up with some friends and family when he wasn't on the diamond.

"I saw my dad and my best buddy who is out here," Martin said. "We got some Starbucks and kicked it a little bit."

Despite the good feeling of being back in his home country, Martin knows he and his teammates must start playing better baseball. The 29-year-old entered Thursday batting just .172 with three homers, nine RBIs and a .632 OPS.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks he is going to come around, but he doesn't want him putting too much pressure on himself at the plate because of the additional responsibilities he has behind the dish.

"I think he's been fairly patient at the plate, he's taking his walks," Girardi said. "It seems like when he hits the ball well, someone is standing there. ... He's been out in front of balls at times, closed off.

"I think preventing runs is the most important part of being a catcher. I believe he's going to hit and turn it around for us."

Martin, meanwhile, knows his Yankees are in an American League East division that seems to be even better this season based on the early success the Orioles and Blue Jays are enjoying. He's not worried, however, about how the Yankees will fare in the long run.

"I think that we have a good team," Martin said. "It's a long season, there are times where you are going to get beat. The Blue Jays swing the bat very well, and it's a strong division.

"For my last two years, it's always been that way. We are used to it, though. We know it's going to be a tough battle all the way through. I think everybody knows that, nobody is surprised. Any team can beat anyone any given night, you just have to fight for it."