Casey Martin probably shouldn’t have been that surprised when Dave Van Horn kept him on the bench Sunday night as Arkansas dropped its third straight game the Shriner’s Classic, falling to Baylor, 3-2.
“He needs to sit over here (in the dugout) and watch,” Van Horn told the media after Saturday’s 8-7 loss to Texas. “I want to win every game, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do.”
To say Martin struggled through the first nine games of the year may be an understatement.
The preseason All-American is hitting .182 and leads the team in strikeouts and errors, which he did for the entire SEC last season but made up for it by hitting the ball … when nobody throws a curve.
In the loss to the Longhorns, Martin went ohmygosh-for-5 at the plate and failed to cut off a throw that led to a run.
“He’s had a few of those performances and there’s really not much you can say anymore,” Van Horn said Saturday night.
How long Martin gets to sit in the dugout and watch may depend on how he responds. Van Horn has defended the errors, saying Martin’s speed lets him get to some balls other people would never reach, much less get charged with an error.
Quite simply, other teams have scouting reports, too. They’ve figured out how to pitch to Martin, who can still get to a fast ball enough to give teams fits if the pitcher’s location isn’t razor-sharp.
Against Baylor on Saturday night, the Hogs didn’t do much until late and then it wasn’t enough.
Don’t look for Van Horn to be hitting any panic buttons. He’s seen this before.
Robert Moore moved over to Martin’s shortstop spot from second. He played there in high school and, quite frankly, plays far beyond being a 17-year-old that should be getting ready for the senior prom instead of starting for an SEC team.
Most expected Martin to be headed to pro ball after this season. This is his draft-eligible year.
If he doesn’t get his issues at the plate and in the field straightened out, though, that might not be in his best interest.
The coaches weren’t born yesterday and are likely fully aware of Martin’s struggles. It obviously hasn’t worked.
Which is not going to boost Martin’s stock in the major league’s annual selection of players. Baseball players that either need a ton of coaching or have a problem listening start riding buses to games and making the same salary as a normal person.
Or maybe it is one of those infamous baseball slumps that players get into at times. This one, though, seems ot have carried over from last season.
And the guess here is that it’s up to Martin to get fixed.
There’s only so much Van Horn can do.