NEW YORK -- Russell Martin was out of the lineup for the fourth time in five games Thursday against the White Sox, but he downplayed the stiffness in his back and manager Joe Girardi insisted a trip to the disabled list is not in his catcher's future.
"In my mind, this is not a DL case," Girardi said. "He's available if I need him tonight."
Martin caught eight innings Saturday against the Mets after stiffness popped up during batting practice, then backup Chris Stewart caught the next three days. Martin returned to the lineup Wednesday against the Indians and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Stewart again started Thursday's series opener against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
"It's better than it was a couple days ago," Martin said, "but at this point I just feel like if I'm in the lineup, I'm not helping the team."
He said there were no ill effects from a collision at home plate Wednesday with Cleveland first baseman Casey Kotchman.
"It's not worse, it's just not quite right yet," Martin said. "I think Joe recognized my swing wasn't quite there. I'm not really moving like I normally move, and he doesn't want to take any risks right now. I'd rather take a couple days now then end up aggravating it and end up taking a couple weeks.
"Personally, I feel like I can go out there. Do I feel 100 percent? No. That's why it's good to have a manager who makes those tough decisions for you."