NEW YORK -- Yankees catcher Russell Martin returned to the starting lineup for the series finale against the Rangers on Thursday, confident that the recent back ailments which forced him to miss seven of the last eight games have subsided.
Martin last started Sunday and was supposed to start Monday's game, but he was a late scratch after manager Joe Girardi didn't like what he saw from him in batting practice.
What's the difference now?
"The difference is now I feel I am good," Martin said. "Before I was just saying I felt good."
Francisco Cervelli had taken over the duties behind the plate with Martin on the shelf, batting .208 (5-for-24) in those seven starts. Martin, who's mired in a 2-for-31 slump and has seen his batting average dip to .232, says he has full range of motion and expects no problems with his previously stiff back.
"I'm still going to heat it up and do all the things to make sure I get it extra loose and make sure I stretch it really well," he said before facing Rangers starter C.J. Wilson. "Just more like prevention stuff now."
In the last game before a six-game Interleague road trip, Jorge Posada started at designated hitter even though an opposing lefty was on the mound, and Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner received the day off.
Nick Swisher found himself back in the leadoff spot after going 1-for-3 with two walks from that spot in Wednesday's 12-4 win.