Pirates notebook: Catcher Martin nursing sore shoulder

Rob Biertempfel
| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 5:00 p.m.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Hours before Tuesday's game against the Orioles was rained out, catcher Russell Martin was scratched from the lineup due to minor soreness in his right shoulder.

He also will sit out the game Wednesday.

“Just the normal aches and pains of being a catcher,” Martin said without elaborating.

Manager Clint Hurdle said the injury was not the result of a single incident but rather normal wear and tear.

“He's been getting after it in a crazy fashion,” Hurdle said.

Martin went through catching drills Tuesday morning with instructor Mike LaValliere but made underhanded flips instead of throwing the ball overhand. Martin has not played in three of the Pirates' four Grapefruit League games.

He caught four innings Sunday and went 0 for 1 with a walk. Martin also picked off a runner at first base.

Throughout his career, Martin has been durable. His only stint on the disabled list came in 2010 when he fractured his hip and tore his labrum in a collision at home plate. Last season, he sat out three days in late June due to a stiff back.

Drug testing discussion

MLB's drug testing program likely will be among the items players union chief Michael Weiner discusses with Pirates players Thursday when he visits camp as part of his annual spring training tour.

Earlier this week, Weiner said there have been talks about increasing penalties for players who test positive. Neil Walker, the Pirates' union rep, is eager to hear what Weiner says.

“I think what we have in place is very good,” Walker said. “As far as whether I'm for or against (tougher penalties) ... I want things to be fair. We usually get tested three or four times a year, so it's not like (there's) a lack of trying.

“What they're doing is right on par with what they should be doing. Do they really need to (change) something here or there to really hunker down on things? Possibly.”

Odds and ends

Right-handed pitcher Jeff Karstens (biceps tightness) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday. ... Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez was supposed to start Tuesday, but the game was rained out. Instead, he will piggy-back with righty A.J. Burnett on Wednesday against the Rays. Also slated to throw are Gerrit Cole, Andy Oliver, Jason Grilli, Jared Hughes and Mark Melancon.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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