TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Yankees catcher Russell Martin is set to resume catching drills Wednesday for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in December.
Martin had a tear in his right knee repaired, an injury that occurred during a training session. The two-time NL All-Star has been taking batting practice and throwing at the Yankees’ minor league complex since late January.
“I think I’ll be ready for the season, for sure,” Martin said Tuesday. “I’m not completely 100 percent. Still have some range of motion left in knee (to work on).”
Martin set career lows last season with a .248 average, five homers and 26 RBIs in 97 games with Los Angeles. His season was cut short Aug. 3 when he broke his right hip and tore his shoulder during a game against San Diego.
“Even before I hurt my knee, my hip was doing pretty good,” Martin said. “I’m not really concerned with the hip. Obviously with the knee I had to take it easy on my whole right side, so my goal from now until the season is to strengthen that right side.”
Martin is projected to be the Yankees’ primary catcher, with Jorge Posada shifting to designated hitter. Barring a trade, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine will compete for a reserve role.
Part of Martin’s offseason preparation included workouts used by mixed martial arts athletes.
“I wasn’t getting into the ring and fighting guys, it was more how they condition,” Martin said. “A lot of power endurance stuff. High intensity work with short recovery time. Just taking swings (in batting practice), I never get tired, so I really don’t get into bad habits.”
Martin signed a $4 million, one-year contract in December. He can an earn an additional $1,375,000 in performance bonuses under his Yankees deal for games played at catcher: $50,000 each for 30 and 35, and $75,000 apiece for 40 and each additional five through 120.
Notes: Montero, 21, took part in extensive defensive drills Tuesday. “I want to be with the team this year,” he said. “I want to show everybody I can catch.” Montero, considered a top offensive prospect, has been doing on-field work for the past two weeks.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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