G-Braves' Martin keeps competitive edge

Atlanta hurler allows two hits, fans nine as Gwinnett routs Norfolk

Cody Martin went 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA in 13 appearances last season with Gwinnett. (Chris Roughgarden/Gwinnett Braves)

By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com | April 16, 2014 1:22 AM

During Gwinnett's matchup vs. Norfolk on Monday, Cody Martin competed from the bench.

It was an off day for the No. 10 Braves prospect, but he watched every at-bat like he was on the lineup card. He noticed what pitches the Tides took and which ones they chased.

"Always got to be doing something," Martin said. "I'm always competing."

The knowledge the right-hander gained propelled him to his first win of the season Tuesday. With his fastball working, the 24-year-old threw 56 of his 88 pitches for strikes, surrendering two hits and a walk while striking out nine over 5 2/3 innings as Triple-A Gwinnett pounded Norfolk, 15-0.

In his last start, also against Norfolk, Martin began the game with three one-hit innings before eventually giving up four runs on six hits over four frames. As he prepared to face the Tides again, the Gonzaga product knew he needed to figure out how to get out of any trouble he pitched into.

"I just wanted to make sure I was making the adjustments and throwing different sequences to throw them off balance," he said. "Fastball was my main pitch … but I mixed in a slider and curve, couple changes."

During his past two seasons in the Minors, Martin has made the adjustment to starter rather than getting in the game multiple times a series as a closer. After serving as the Bulldogs' end-of-the-night guy, the California native posted a 1.48 ERA in 22 relief appearances across the Appalachian and South Atlantic Leagues in his first professional season.

While he's had relief appearances sprinkled throughout his time in the Carolina, Southern and International Leagues, including his first outing this season, he said the Braves primarily want to keep him a starter.

"I felt really good," Martin said after his longest outing of the season. "Biggest thing is to turn around and get workouts in; my body feels great. I've kind of figured out what my body needs to do between starts."

Opposing Martin for the second straight start was Baltimore's No. 2 prospect Kevin Gausman (0-1), but for the second straight start, the right-hander couldn't go deep, surrendering four runs on seven hits in three frames against the G-Braves on Tuesday.

"He has unbelievable stuff, he was throwing mid- to upper-90s tonight. It's fun to go up against those guys," Martin said. "You want to show you can compete. I want that challenge."

While it meant sitting on the bench for extended periods of time in the cold, Martin appreciated his run support.

Jose Constanza, Philip Gosselin and Edward Salcedo tallied three hits apiece for Gwinnett. Salcedo, the Braves' No. 15 prospect, hit his second homer and doubled twice, while No. 7 Tommy La Stella plated three runs.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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