The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Is Martin’s back good … or just good enough?

Posted by: Sam Borden - Posted in Misc on Jun 13, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Every day Joe Girardi checks in with his players before posting the lineup card and you can bet he’ll be paying extra close attention to what Russell Martin has to say during today’s conversation.

Yesterday, Martin played for the first time since hurting his back on Tuesday. After going 0-for-4 with two double plays, Martin admitted that he still feels discomfort. “It’s still there a little but something I can play with,” Martin said. “I can run, throw, hit, even though I didn’t hit today, I can do enough to get the job done.”

Admirable as that sentiment is, Girardi may have a decision on his hands. Catcher isn’t a position to fool around with and it’s physical demands are intense; having a starter who is isn’t as close to 100 percent as possible isn’t ideal when it’s only June (and not, say, October). Girardi said during his postgame press conference that he’ll be interested to see how Martin’s back responds to a day back behind the plate.

Is it worth giving Martin a little more time off? Maybe. If he says he’s all ready to go, it’s hard to argue but no one should be surprised if the Yankees play it cautiously. Martin has been struggling since the end of April, and his average has dropped all the way to .232. Trying to play hurt might only magnify whatever bad habits have seeped into his swing.

Then again, rustiness isn’t much help at the plate either.

“It’s been a while since I had an at-bat,” Martin said yesterday. “I was swinging at pitches that I knew I was going to get, I just couldn’t do anything with them. Maybe it’s just not having an (at-bat) in a little while, probably takes me a day or two to get used to it. Come back stronger tomorrow.”

The Yankees certainly hope so.

* That’s an AP photo of Martin.




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