TAMPA, Fla. -- In his first action behind the plate, Russell Martin caught the first five innings of the Yankees' 5-3 loss to the Red Sox on Friday, and he reported no difficulties with his surgically repaired right knee.
"Honestly, I wouldn't have been out there if I did feel anything," Martin said. "In all the drills, I've been pushing it pretty hard just to make sure that I would be ready for game situations. It felt good."
The Yankees have allowed Martin some extra time before getting him into the catching mix because the 28-year-old felt some stiffness behind his knee. Martin is wearing a light brace and estimated he is running at about 90 percent.
"The only thing I was worried about was blocking side to side," Martin said. "Ever since I got the brace, I've pushed it to the limit as far as I can go -- left or right -- and it feels good. That's a good sign for me."
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The only snag for Martin came with Manny Banuelos pitching in the fourth inning, when Martin was crossed up by a 2-0 pitch that dropped in as a curveball. Martin went to the clubhouse between innings and painted his fingers with White-Out to help Banuelos pick up the signs through the shadows.
"Better to do that than to get smoked in the chest," Martin said.
Manager Joe Girardi said that he now expects Martin to be ready to enter the catching rotation. Girardi plans on catching Martin on Sunday against the Astros at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"He's got plenty of time to get in shape," Girardi said. "You look at Russell, he's a young guy and he's used to playing every day. I'll see how he feels [Saturday] and we'll try to get him two days in a row coming up."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.