Blue Jays activate Martin, unveil 2018 schedule

 The Toronto Blue Jays activated catcher Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

The Toronto Blue Jays activated catcher Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By Andrew Hendriks

Canadian Baseball Network

TORONTO - After missing the last 29 games with a left-oblique strain, Russell Martin will return to the Toronto Blue Jays active roster as the club looks to help dash the Baltimore Orioles' Wild Card hopes with another win on Tuesday.

For the season, the 34-year-old catcher has slashed .223/.354/.381 with 18 extra-base hits over 329 at-bats. Despite missing a total of 41 games due to injury, Martin ranks third among all Major League catchers with 49 walks in 2017 and is tied with Chicago Cubs backstop Wilson Contreras for sixth in runs scored with 46.

The Montreal native will share catching duties with Miguel Montero, Raffy Lopez and Luke Maile as the season draws to a close, providing Blue Jays manager John Gibbons with more defensive flexibility late in ball games.

THE SKED AHEAD

Formally released on Tuesday, the Blue Jays will open their 2018 schedule at home against the New York Yankees on March 29 and close out the regular season in Tampa Bay on September 30.

Interleague matchups include trips into Washington, New York, Atlanta and Miami while the Mets, Braves, Phillies and Marlins will all visit Toronto at various points next season.

As expected, the team will be changing things up as nine of Blue Jays' 13 Saturday home games will be played at 4:07 p.m. while the other four will stick to the customary 1:07 p.m. start time.

The Blue Jays will play host to host Detroit on Canada Day and the always popular Jr. Jays promotion is set to move from Saturday to all Sunday home games in 2018.

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Andrew Hendriks

Born in southern Ontario during the late 1980's, Hendriks had a front row seat to watch the Blue Jays reach the pinnacle in '92/'93 as a child, an experience that only bolstered this Canadian's love for the "American Game." Having played since before his memory allows access too, his passion for Baseball grew over years of emulating his heroes on the local sandlots, memorizing the backs of chewing gum scented cards and travelling across North America to experience as many aspects of the game as possible. In 2009, Hendriks began volunteering at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as a Weekend Tour Guide. By 2010, he was hired on to help curate for the museum & Instruct the fundamentals of the game along side such legends as Tony Fernandez, Roberto Alomar and Jim Fanning during the Hall's annual Kids On Deck program. Following the 2011 season, Hendriks began blogging and co-hosting a weekly podcast for www.BackInBlue.ca, a Blue Jays themed website ran by fans, for fans. Looking to continue connecting with baseball fans across the country, Hendriks is excited to join such a strong team at the Canadian Baseball Network and looks forward to chipping in.