CLEVELAND -- Victor Martinez, as expected, was out of the Indians' lineup Wednesday night. But by the look of things, he won't remain out for long. Martinez is still listed as day-to-day after suffering a mild left hamstring strain on Opening Day against the White Sox. But he hit in the indoor cages, played catch and exercised on a stationary bike without feeling much pain Wednesday.
"I feel better every day," Martinez said. "I don't even feel it walking. It's coming along pretty good." Backup Kelly Shoppach got the start in place of Martinez, batting ninth in manager Eric Wedge's lineup. Wedge opted to shift Travis Hafner to Martinez's cleanup spot, moving Jhonny Peralta to the No. 3 spot. Wedge hoped to find out around the time of the first pitch whether Martinez would be available to pinch-hit. It's possible and perhaps even likely the Indians will sit Martinez again for Thursday's getaway-day game, regardless of how he feels, given the cold conditions in Cleveland. He might be ready to go by the time the Indians open a six-game road trip in Oakland on Friday night. First baseman Ryan Garko was available to catch Wednesday, in the event of an emergency. Garko, a converted backstop, caught Paul Byrd's bullpen session before batting practice. Martinez hurt his hamstring while trying to advance from first to second on a pitch in the dirt in the second inning Monday. He fell awkwardly to the ground and was tagged for the final out of the inning. "It felt more like a cramp," Martinez said. "I wanted to stop, but I couldn't stop. I just fell down." Martinez said last year's quad injury, suffered on a brutally cold and snowy day, was "much worse." The Indians had Shoppach work more with C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona this spring for this very reason. Shoppach said catching Carmona, who got the start Wednesday, is a challenge. "His sinker is hard to catch," Shoppach said. "I didn't catch him last year until right before the All-Star break. I dropped like four in a row to get started."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.