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03/25/10 6:30 PM ET
Martin goes 2-for-2 in Minors game
Dodgers' injured catcher looks sharp in return to action
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Working his way back from a pulled groin, Dodgers catcher Russell Martin went 2-for-2 and caught four innings in a Minor League game Thursday afternoon as manager Joe Torre looked on. "I felt good, a little rusty behind the plate," said Martin, who hadn't played since he he was injured stealing second base on March 5 against the White Sox. The Dodgers initially believed Martin could miss four to six weeks, but his progress has led Torre to keep open the possibility that Martin could be ready to go for Opening Day, April 5 in Pittsburgh. "It's too soon, got to see how he feels tomorrow," said Torre, who missed the start of a Cactus League game between the Dodgers and Brewers at Camelback Ranch to watch Martin play at the Rangers' complex. "Catching-wise, he was very natural. I know he's rushing [to get back], but that's why I'm here to look at him, to see if I'm comfortable with what I see." Martin doubled on an 0-1 pitch in the first inning and singled in the same count in the fourth, both times to right field off the Rangers' Colby Lewis. He also scored from third base in the fourth, running full speed to home and giving Torre a fist pump as he entered the dugout. "That's just my strength, going the other way," Martin said. "I stayed short, my swing feels good. I think the live at-bats that I got previous to this helped out." Martin got a workout behind the plate from right-hander Ethan Martin. The Dodgers' first-round pick in the 2008 Draft couldn't find the strike zone and threw 43 pitches in his first two innings. Martin caught about 70 pitches overall and looked spry going after a foul popup behind the plate in the first inning. No baserunners attempted to steal on him. "Ethan made me move around a little bit back there," Martin said. "Plus, he's a guy who's got great stuff, big league stuff." Going forward, Torre said he'll have to check in with Martin daily. "You really base what you do on what you see," he said. "He's certainly far ahead of what was anticipated, and I'm thrilled about that and I know he's feeling great."
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.