Martin to be ready for Opening Day

Martin to be ready for Opening Day

PHOENIX -- There were upbeat medical reports Wednesday on Dodgers catchers Russell Martin and Brad Ausmus, and reliever Hong-Chih Kuo.

Martin, recovering faster than expected from a pulled groin muscle, said there's "no doubt" he'll be ready to start Opening Day. He will catch in a Minor League game Thursday, his first game since suffering the injury March 6, when doctors guessed he would be out four to six weeks.

But Martin has insisted all along that the injury was not that severe, although he also credits a platelet-rich plasma injection for accelerating the healing process.

"That, and all the rest and exercises," Martin said.

Said Torre: "I never thought about Opening Day. We'll see in the next couple days if it becomes realistic."

Kuo, who has come up sore after his only two outings this spring, played catch Wednesday for the first time since retiring the side in order Friday night, which was his first appearance in 10 days. Torre said Kuo had an MRI Monday, and it showed nothing unexpected for an elbow that has already had four operations.

Torre said Kuo felt fine pitching Friday night, but didn't feel right on Saturday and he was shut down for a few days. Kuo appeared in seven games last spring, but didn't get through the first month of the season before landing on the disabled list, where he stayed for three months because his tender elbow led to a mysterious case of the yips.

"He's been honest with us," said Torre. "He's further along than last year at this time. Again, he recovers. We scratched him in Taiwan because he felt something on the plane, but he was fine. He pretty much has to go through these experiences, I guess."

Ausmus, out a week with lower back pain, has resumed baseball activities, including catching bullpen sessions, and expects to return to game action in the next few days.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.