Day 1 of camp: Bulked-up Russell Martin, beardless Casey Blake, visa-less Ronald Belisario and more
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PHOENIX – On the day pitchers and catchers had to report to the Dodgers’ spring training camp, Russell Martin walked into the Dodgers’ clubhouse with added muscle that he said made him look “like a fullback.”
Martin spent the winter of 2008-09 working to improve his flexibility and said he felt that the bulk he lost affected him offensively. He went into last season a two-time All-Star, but hit only .250 with seven home runs and 53 runs batted in.
Martin said he weighed 206-207 pounds at the start of camp last year. He said he weighs 231 pounds now.
Martin wasn’t the only one sporting a new look. Casey Blake, who was one of several position players to report early, returned without his trademark beard.
“I was so frustrated with the last duck hunt that we had at the end of the season, I was so mad about the season, that I came home and shaved it,” Blake said.
Blake said he had had the beard since the middle of 2007.
“People say it makes me look younger, so maybe I want to renegotiate my contract,” he said.
Belisario late to camp
Ronald Belisario is still in Venezuela because of visa problems, but his agent, Paul Kinzer, said the hard-throwing right-hander could be in camp next week.
Kinzer said that part of the reason Belisario had trouble securing a visa in time was because of the misdemeanor drunk driving charges he faces. Belisario has pleaded not guilty.
Belisario was also late to camp last year because of visa issues.
Other position players to report early included Jamey Carroll, Reed Johnson, Xavier Paul, Jason Repko, Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Chin-lung Hu.... When Manager Joe Torre goes to Taiwan next month with a split squad for a pair of exhibition games, bench coach – and presumed manager-in-training – Don Mattingly will manage the team that stays behind.… Torre said his agent is still in talks with the Dodgers about extending his contract by a year. Torre’s current three-year deal expires at the end of this season.
-- Dylan Hernandez