NEW YORK -- Russell Martin was out of the Yankees' starting lineup against the Mets on Sunday, one night after lower back stiffness popped up during batting practice at Citi Field, and while manager Joe Girardi would like to continue to rest his catcher, Martin was available if needed.
Martin's absence meant that Chris Stewart was behind the plate yet again with CC Sabathia on the mound, continuing a trend that reached 13 consecutive starts on Sunday. Martin caught Sabathia's first two starts this season, but Stewart has caught the rest.
Girardi wants to get Martin back to catching the staff ace and thought Sunday's game might be the perfect opportunity.
"I may wait until the end of the [All-Star] break now; who knows?" Girardi said. "I'm not sure what I'll do. I want to get those two back together. I was thinking today could have possibly been the day. It very well could have been."
Instead, Martin will likely return to the lineup on Monday against the Indians at Yankee Stadium. The 29-year-old Martin woke up with back stiffness on Sunday, having caught eight innings on Saturday before exiting early. Martin underwent treatment upon his arrival at Citi Field for the series finale and said he felt better.
Martin insisted he will be ready to play Monday.
"I know that it's not severe; I know that," Martin said. "If I'm in the lineup, I'll be ready to play."