Martin starting to bust out for Dodgers

Martin starting to bust out for Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- There's no doubt that Dodgers catcher Russell Martin has been struggling offensively this season.

The two-time All-Star entered Saturday's game with a .198 batting average, no homers and four extra-base hits.

But Martin broke out for three hits in four at-bats against the Padres on Saturday and Dodgers manager Joe Torre is confident that Martin is emerging from his early season slump.

Torre said the turning point came Friday night, when Martin drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning to give the Dodgers a 1-0 win.

"I thought he fought through that at-bat the other night when we walked," Torre said. "I wasn't crazy about his swings earlier in the at-bat, but he stuck around long enough to get the walk."

Torre said Martin's problem this year is that his swing has been too long and he's been trying to pull the ball too much. He said he noticed a difference on Saturday when he tried to hit the ball up the middle instead.

"To me, it looked like he cut down on his swing yesterday," Torre said. "It looked a little shorter, and it worked for him. So, hopefully, he can pick it up from there."

Martin, though, won't get a chance to build on his three-hit night until Monday because he was given the day off on Sunday, as planned. But Torre said Martin will enjoy his day off because he's swinging the bat better.

"It's a much easier off-day when you get a few hits like that," Torre said.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.