Yankees sticking by slumping catcher Martin

Yankees sticking by slumping catcher Martin

OAKLAND -- It is a familiar refrain from Joe Girardi, a defensive catcher himself during his playing days, that the Yankees manager would prefer to get stellar defense from his catcher than offense.

Still, the Yankees could use more punch from Russell Martin. The second-year Bombers backstop entered Friday's game batting just .173 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 38 games, but Girardi said that Martin's .321 on-base percentage is encouraging.

"Russell's run into some bad luck," Girardi said. "The one thing Russell has done is he's gotten on base. When you look at his average and then you look at how much he's been on, it's really pretty incredible.

"If he was hitting normal, he'd probably have an on-base percentage over .400, but I've seen some good signs from him. He's hit some balls harder, and we know he's capable of doing more."

Martin had a batting average of just .190 on balls in play (BABIP) entering play on Friday, by far the lowest mark of his career. He had a .252 BABIP last year for New York, hitting .237 with 18 homers and 57 RBIs.