BRADENTON, Fla. -- Standing outside his new clubhouse, outfitted in yellow and black, Russell Martin said he has "no regrets" about the way things worked out over the offseason, though the former Yankees catcher admits to still being a little surprised that he isn't wearing pinstripes this spring.
Martin has settled in nicely as a veteran voice behind the plate for the Pirates, who gave him a two-year, $17 million deal this past winter -- one that the Yankees said they could not match. Martin said he understands the business side of the game, but he was open to coming back to New York.
"It's disappointing because of the guys," Martin said. "I was a part of that team, the overall atmosphere. But it's mostly the people that were there: the coaches, the players -- that's what I'm going to miss more than anything."
Martin said that there are no hard feelings between him and the Yankees, and that he has been having a good time getting to know the Pirates.
"It's a different atmosphere, a younger team, so because of that it's a bit different," Martin said. "It's a good group of guys, too. I'm enjoying myself. It's still baseball; just less media."
The Yankees did make Martin a contract offer last spring, believed to be three years at $20 million. But Martin said he had no second thoughts about turning down that proposed extension.
"There's no regrets, that's all I can say," Martin said. "I have no regrets. I am where I am. I'm happy, and I'm just ready to take on the season and see what happens."
From the outside looking in, Martin said that the Yankees appear to be facing "an uphill battle" in the American League East, with a different bench and numerous injuries. He does not think that the Yankees will have any issues with their pitching staff or the planned catching tandem of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart.
"Both those guys can catch. I like both of them," Martin said. "I learned some stuff from Stewart last year -- just on how quick he is, first of all, just throwing the ball to second base, and how quick his hands are. His game calling is really good, his receiving [is] really good.
"So defensively, both those guys have got a lot of upside. Offensively, they don't have the most power in the world, but that's not the most important part of the game. Taking care of the pitchers is what's going to get you to the playoffs, and I think they're going to do a fine job."