Martin confident with Bucs' depth behind the plate

Martin confident with Bucs' depth behind the plate

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Russell Martin is well aware of the concerns raised by the knee injury to his catching sidekick, Chris Stewart. He just doesn't get it.

Stewart underwent surgery on Wednesday on his right knee, and he is expected to be sidelined from four to six weeks. It opens the door for the cancellation of the Indianapolis trip of Tony Sanchez, whose Major League readiness -- particularly defensively -- has been questioned. And there is also apprehension about the Pirates' depth at the position behind him.

How does the Bucs' main man behind the plate feel about Sanchez's ability to back up?

"To me, there is a pretty simple answer," Martin said. "He did a great job when called up last year. In my mind, he's a big league catcher. The only thing keeping him out of the big league is me. Know what I'm saying? The situation is pretty simple. Is he the kind of guy they want to play every day [in Triple-A]? Or would they allow him to be the backup while Stew works his way back? It's not my job to make those decisions.

"We have depth there," Martin said of the depth at catcher, thinking primarily of Omir Santos, who is in camp on a non-roster basis but has 122 games of big league experience. "Santos caught for the Mets before [96 games in 2009]. He can catch. For me, it's not that big of a concern right now. Stew will be back in four to six weeks, and Tony is young and healthy."

And Martin does not sound like the kind of guy apt to enter a season already worried about who will give him a rest.

"I'm not afraid to catch a large portion of the games," he said.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.