Martin scratched late with back stiffness

Martin scratched late with back stiffness

NEW YORK -- Russell Martin's stiff lower back continues to be an issue for the Yankees, forcing the catcher to be scratched from Monday's lineup less than an hour before the first pitch against the Indians.

Martin took batting practice earlier in the day at Yankee Stadium, but manager Joe Girardi said that it was apparent he was still battling the stiffness, which has forced him to sit out five of the team's last six games.

"We watched him take BP and he just didn't look like he had the rotation he needed," Girardi said. "He did feel better today than he did yesterday, but we're going to wait and make sure that his BP is normal before we put him back out."

Martin went 0-for-4 in Sunday's 9-1 victory over the Indians, his return to action after missing four games with the injury. After that game, Martin acknowledged he was still experiencing the stiffness.

"It's still there a little bit," Martin said on Sunday. "It's something I can play with. I can run, throw, hit, even though I didn't hit today."

Francisco Cervelli replaced Martin behind the plate Monday against Cleveland, batting ninth. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, but drew raves on his pitch-calling and blocking from starter A.J. Burnett, who allowed a run in 7 2/3 innings.