NEW YORK -- Yankees catcher Russell Martin felt stiffness in his back during batting practice before Saturday's 4-3 win over the Mets at Citi Field, but he played the first eight innings before manager Joe Girardi lifted him for a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
Martin said he thought his back would loosen up as the day went on, but Girardi did not find out about the stiffness until the sixth or seventh inning, the skipper said. Dewayne Wise pinch-hit for Martin in the ninth, then backup catcher Chris Stewart caught Rafael Soriano's scoreless ninth inning to preserve the Yankees' win.
"I've had this before," said Martin, who went 0-for-3 with a pair of flyouts and a strikeout. "Normally, it happens a little later in the season. Just always rotating to the same sides, it kind of puts some stress on the lower back. I've dealt with this before."
Girardi hopes to have Martin as a backup for the rubber match of the three-game series on Sunday night, giving Stewart the start and another opportunity to catch CC Sabathia. Martin caught Sabathia's first two starts of the season, but Stewart has caught the last 12.