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

| Saturday, March 2, 2013, 4:51 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Pirates catcher Russell Martin bats as the designated hitter against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
Pirates catcher Russell Martin bats as the designated hitter against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
Pirates left fielder Starling Marte connects on a bunt for a base hit against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Pirates pitcher Jeanmar Gomez delivers against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla.
Christopher Horner
Pirates left fielder Starling Marte is out at first base, as Detroit's Prince Fielder takes a throw after a flyball out Saturday, March 2, 2013, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
Detroit's Dixon Machado turns a double play while avoiding Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
Retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis prepares to throw out the first pitch before the Pirates' game against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. Lewis grew up in Lakeland. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)

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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