Dodgers give Martin well-earned rest

Dodgers give Martin well-earned rest

LOS ANGELES -- Russell Martin didn't protest this time, even with the longest active hit streak in the Majors.

The Dodgers catcher was not in the lineup Friday night for the opener of a three-game series with the Tigers at Dodger Stadium, just the sixth game he has not started this season. Martin is in the midst of a career-high 15-game hit streak and is batting .268 with four home runs and 12 RBIs.

Manny Ramirez, who missed the past two games, returned to the lineup Friday and batted third, but the Dodgers went without two other regulars. James Loney, in a 2-for-18 stretch over his past five games, and Blake DeWitt both sat against Tigers southpaw Dontrelle Willis.

Manager Joe Torre had looked to give Martin days off on previous weekends, but Martin then was adamant he was able to go.

"We talked about it before the game Thursday and he was a little tired," Torre said. "I wanted him to catch [Clayton] Kershaw, so we gave him the game tonight."

Martin had started 22 straight games, and his 323 2/3 innings behind the plate rank second in the National League to only the Cardinals' Yadier Molina, who has caught 329 innings. Even when Martin does rest, he still gets into games: He's only missed one entirely and is available to pinch-hit Friday.

"He's such a high-energy guy, he really drains himself a lot," Torre said. "He's done a great job, knock on wood. We keep him healthy, he's going to be a big plus for our pitching staff."