Pirates notebook: Hurdle, Martin differ on catcher's status

| Saturday, March 2, 2013, 4:51 p.m.

LAKELAND, Fla. — Russell Martin saw his first action in a week, going 0 for 3 with a walk Saturday in the Pirates' 4-1 exhibition loss to the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium.

But it was difficult to determine when exactly his sore right shoulder would allow him to catch again.

Manager Clint Hurdle said shortly after the final out that Martin would catch Sunday against the Houston Astros in Bradenton. But Martin clearly was taken aback when reporters mentioned that to him a few minutes later.

“I can't say that,” Martin said. “I haven't thrown yet. I don't think he's going to throw me in. I think he's going to give me a couple of days. I'll talk to him about it. We'll make sure we communicate. I haven't thrown yet, but we'll communicate and we'll talk to him about that. I know my swing felt fine. As far as throwing, I took another day because it's still early March. I don't feel like I need to rush anything.”

Martin conceded that, “if it was the season, I think I could go,” but added, “I've been catching bullpens, and I'm still able to catch the guys and get a feel for them. But the way my body feels right now, I don't need to rush throwing and doing all that kind of stuff. I'll take it day by day. I'll probably throw tomorrow. I just wanted to see how it felt after taking swings. Right now I feel fine. I feel great.”

Hurdle's assessment of Martin's day at the plate: “He saw a bunch of pitches today, worked some three-ball counts. It's what we've seen from him from the other dugout and what I've seen from him. It's good to have him back in the lineup.”

Other recoveries

Jeff Karstens (shoulder) threw a 40-pitch bullpen session in Bradenton. He'll graduate to live batting practice next week. The session, Hurdle said, “went a little longer than expected, which was good.”

Jeff Locke (shin) reported no ill effects after being struck by a line drive Friday night in Fort Myers.

Dejan Kovacevic is a sports columnist for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dkovacevic@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Dejan_Kovacevic.

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