PHOENIX -- Dodgers catcher Russell Martin probably started his last game batting leadoff in a while on Wednesday night with Rafael Furcal due back Friday, but the spot has been good to the catcher.
Martin has three of his four home runs and six of his 10 RBIs in 24 at-bats leading off, even though he has more at- bats in both the Nos. 2 and 8 spots in the order this year. He didn't hit his fourth home run last year until Aug. 20. He came into Wednesday night's game with a seven-game hitting streak.
"He feels he thrives on the work," manager Joe Torre said when asked about a break for Martin, who has started 28 of the club's 33 games. "We've got an off-day [Thursday]. He's good right now. He's pretty comfortable at the plate and his actions behind the plate are fine. He'll get a day off this weekend, probably Sunday. His hands are working so well right now."
Torre also had praise for first baseman James Loney, who had four hits Tuesday night to raise his average to .326 and has passed Matt Kemp to be second on the club with 23 RBIs.
"He continues to get better," said Torre. "Maybe he's not like Andre Ethier with monster home runs, but I still think he'll hit 20, not necessarily this year, but he's a guy who will be very productive. The situation of the game doesn't bother him. He stays as calm as anybody I've ever been around, to be honest with you.
"You could tell him what a terrible player he is and he'll say, thank you, and still feel good about himself. He's got a lot of confidence."