In the back of the Yankees clubhouse, on the left side of the room, there is a row of five lockers. Jorge Posada is in the corner, followed by Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, Jesus Montero and Russell Martin. They’re all grouped together, the top of the food chain in this catching-rich organization.
Martin’s locker is at the end of the row, almost as if they’re easing the new guy into the mix.
So far, the Yankees are easing Martin into catching drills. His hip is fine, but Martin is still working out some range-of-motion issues with the MCL in his right knee. He said it loosens day by day, and squatting behind the plate actually seems to be helping the process.
The only thing Martin is not doing is block balls in the dirt. The Yankees don’t want him to start blocking drills just yet, worried that slamming his knee into the ground might cause a setback at a time when he’s very nearly 100 percent.
For the most part, though, Martin said he feels good and his lower half feels strong. Yankees camp is very regimented, and the team goes pretty hard from the very beginning of camp.
“I’m glad I came prepared,” he said.
• The closer has arrived. Mariano Rivera got into town last night and will begin his usual spring training routine this morning. As usual, he’s not sure when he’ll finally throw off a mound, but it won’t be any time soon.
• Reegie Corona has been scratched from big league camp. He’s still rehabbing and will get his treatments at the minor league complex. His locker at big league camp has been cleaned out. Name plate taken down and everything.
• Speaking of name plates, there is finally a locker labeled D.J. Mitchell. Either as a joke or a mistake, Mitchell’s locker was originally labeled Bryan Mitchell.
• CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett each threw bullpens earlier this morning. “The earlier the better,” Burnett said. They’re up around 30 pitches each.
• Bullpen assignments:
Bartolo Colon (to Francisco Cervelli)
Freddy Garcia (to Russell Martin)
Sergio Mitre (to Austin Romine)
Luis Ayala (to Jesus Montero)
Boone Logan (to Gustavo Molina)
Mark Prior (to Jose Gil)
Buddy Carlyle (to Austin Romine)
Robert Fish (to Kyle Higashioka)
Ryan Pope (to Jose Gil)
• Same hitting groups as the past two days.
Associated Press photo of Martin with Jorge Posada