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Russell Martin: Burnett’s Departure Like ‘A Punch In The Gut’

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BRADENTON (93-7 The Fan) – Pirates catcher Russell Martin sat down with “The Fan Morning Show” at Spring Training on Wednesday to chat about his offseason and his work to prepare for Opening Day.

Here is some of what he had to say:

On handling the pitching staff:
“I was taught early on that there are going to be different personalities- and maybe I have a future as a psychologist after I’m done playing baseball- but, you know, everybody ticks differently. There are some guys that you need to pat on the back, some guys that you need to get in their grill a little bit to get them to where they need to be. But it’s up to me to find out what motivates and who do they need me to be that day. It can be different for each pitcher.”

On Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole:
“They’re both smart kids, hey got a good head on their shoulders, they’re eager to learn, and they’re perfectionists, so just seeing how they work in their bullpens, and the adjustments they can make, how quickly they can make adjustments is one thing that I recognize.”

On A.J. Burnett’s departure:
“It was strange, because in my mind, I really believed that he was going either going to retire, or that he was coming back to Pittsburgh. So, it was kind of like a little punch in the gut. It was a bit shocking. But I wish him well. I like the guy. I feel like a lot of the pitchers on the staff that we have right now learned a lot from him, just the way he goes out there and he competes, and his warrior-type mentality. So, a lot of the things that the guys got from him, they’re not going to disappear just because he’s not here.”

On what Burnett was saying right before signing:
“At that point, I think he was keeping everything a bit private, but he did say how hard of a decision it was for him to go somewhere else, because he was close to these guys. Knowing A.J., he’s not the guy that opens up the quickest. I don’t think it’s something that he does easily.”

The interview can be heard here:

The Fan Morning Show will be broadcasting live from Pirates spring training in Bradenton every day this week. Listen to them live 5:40-10 a.m. and visit 937thefan.com to get interview summaries and audio after the show.

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