Russell Martin has withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic, leaving Canada without its starting catcher.

Martin, who signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates over the off-season, decided to remove himself from the team because he wasn't going to be allowed to play shortstop.

According to Martin, both the Pirates and the Canadian team were uncomfortable with the Chelsea, Que., native switching positions for the upcoming tournament.

"They both were uneasy about that," Martin told MLB.com, "and I simply didn't want to catch."

Martin signed to a two-year, $17-million US deal with Pittsburgh in November and was concerned about the physical wear and tear that comes with the tournament.

"It's just too much grind," he added. "The catcher's out there the whole game, and it just takes your body so long to recover from catching 20 innings or so."