Little Logan big Russ Martin fan

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:18 PM ET

Logan White is in his sixth year as the Los Angeles Dodgers scouting director.

Logan White Jr. is seven and hits off a pitching machine when he plays for the Dodgers in a Pony League in Phoenix.

White has scouted thousands of high schoolers and collegians. At least 10 players he has drafted and signed have spent time living in his Phoenix home.

New Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, who was born in East York and spent two years in Scarborough, lived at White's during the 2004-05 off-season. Los Angeles chose Martin in the 17th round of the 2002 draft from the Chipola College Indians, where he was an infielder.

"Clarence Johns was our area scout," White said. "We saw athleticism, quick feet, a perfect body, ideal makeup, a canon arm and a chance to hit," White said from Dallas, where he was searching for players for the June 6 draft.

"We didn't give him much ($40,000 US). I told him if he wanted to work out in warm weather our place was his."

"I love him, but my son probably knows him as well."

Sure Martin, now 23, is going to hang with a seven year old.

A phone call is made. A message is left. The phone rings.

"Hello, this is Logan White returning your call," says the seven-year-old, sounding 27.

"Russ taught me to play games on his X-box, boxing and Alter Echo, he showed me how to play cards," says little Logan. "We played poker and 21 but not for money. If I won, he'd say, 'I can't let a kid beat me.' He's very intense."

Martin was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas May 6 when L.A. catcher Dioner Navarro injured his wrist.

"We watched on TV, Russ had a double, a single and knocked in two runs, I saw him and thought there is my friend in a Dodgers uniform," little Logan said of the Dodgers' 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. "Until school's out I can stay up until the fourth, then I go to bed."

Martin hit his first homer two days later in a 10-2 win. The Whites missed it, as they were at church.

L.A. had a 12-17 record when Martin arrived. The Dodgers swept the three-game series against the Brewers and in all, have won 15 of 18 games he has caught, going into their game against the Washington Nationals last night.

Martin was called up three days after the Dodgers were in Phoenix to play the Arizona Diamondbacks. Little Logan is looking forward to their return July 17.

Little Logan's baseball season is over, so Martin won't be able to attend a game -- "I had 19 doubles in 15 games, I think," -- since Martin had helped him with his swing.

Little Logan is asked who will win the National League West? "The Dodgers." The NL pennant? "Dodgers." The World Series? "Dodgers!"

"Mom says Russ cost us millions when we decided to redo the carpets and put in new tile, he got the process started," little Logan says.

Deana White said plans to remodel the house were being discussed. Her only rule was that she didn't cook meals -- Martin was on his own -- but little did she know that the minor-leaguer had a knack for interior decorating.

"Russ said, 'The piano should go over here, this TV won't work, you need a new TV,'" Deana said.

Martin, who would roll around the floor of the White house wrasslin' with Little Logan and Lava, the White's Great Dane, is hitting .305 with a homer and 13 RBIs. Last winter Martin roomed with closer Eric Gagne in Phoenix.

"Have any brothers and sisters?" little Logan is asked.

"I had one but he died ... that's okay, you didn't know," he says.

Four years ago Zane Nolan White, named after Nolan Ryan, was born with the Trisomy 18 syndrome. Five hours after his arrival he was gone.

"Little Logan really loved how Russ could get on the same level as kid, that's what I witnessed," said big Logan. "Russ Martin is the big brother he doesn't have."


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