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Mariners hire new director to oversee training

October 30, 2017

SEATTLE -- A Mariners team that spent the third-most money of any Major League club on players on the disabled list during the 2017 season made a move to improve their training methods on Monday with the hiring of Dr. Lorena Martin as the club's first director of high performance.Martin

SEATTLE -- A Mariners team that spent the third-most money of any Major League club on players on the disabled list during the 2017 season made a move to improve their training methods on Monday with the hiring of Dr. Lorena Martin as the club's first director of high performance.
Martin had been working as director of sports performance analytics for the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association.
Martin begins her new role with the Mariners on Wednesday and will be responsible for coordinating all aspects of the team's mental-training approach of players and staff, including oversight of the entire organization's medical, strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental-skills departments.
"We have spent nearly a year working on creating this position and structure as well as identifying the best person for this role," Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "Lorena's background, skill set and previous experience make her a perfect match for what we envisioned."
With the Lakers, Martin worked with the coaching, medical and strength and conditioning staff as well as management to ensure data-driven methodology aimed at injury prevention and athletic performance.
Martin grew up playing tennis and began looking for ways to combine her interest in sports, psychology and analytics while earning her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Miami in 2005 and then adding doctorate degrees in sports psychology from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., exercise physiology from the University of Miami and behavioral medicine at the University of California, San Diego.
She authored a book in 2016 titled "Sports Performance Measurement and Analytics: The Science of Assessing Performance, Predicting Future Outcomes, Interpreting Statistical Models, and Evaluating the Market Value of Athletes."
Martin has also taught courses in statistical analysis and sports performance analytics at Florida International, Northwestern and Miami universities, as well as serving as a consultant for several NBA and NFL teams and pro athletes in tennis and golf.
"Major League Baseball has lagged behind many professional sports leagues, including the NBA, Premier Soccer and others, in using big data to assist in both injury prevention and peak performance," Dipoto said. "We are excited to better connect all of the services we currently provide to our players throughout the organization and add the information that Dr. Martin can reveal to better assist the team in staying healthy and, ultimately, winning more games."
Dipoto made a unique move when he became Seattle's general manager prior to the 2016 season when he hired Andy McKay, a longtime college baseball coach who was working as a sports psychologist with the Rockies, as the team's director of player development.
Now the club will bring in Martin to add to Dipoto's desire to integrate analytics and mental skills into all levels of the franchise.
"I couldn't be happier to begin working for an organization that shares the same vision, and that values the importance of sports performance as much as I do," Martin said. "This position gives me the opportunity to utilize and implement all aspects of my knowledge to maximize performance."
While Dipoto and assistant general manager Jeff Kingston began looking into creating such a position a year ago, the last season certainly reinforced the issue of injuries and their impact on performance. The Mariners had 17 players on the disabled list in 2017, during which those players were paid a combined $43 million, according to Spotrac.com.
Only the Dodgers ($58 million) and Mets ($49 million) spent more money on players on the DL this past season.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.