Notes: Martin talks to MLB

Yankees catcher Russell Martin said he spoke to MLB on Friday about his spat with home plate umpire Laz Diaz.

Joe Torre, MLB's Vice President for Baseball Operations, called to find out about the incident -- in which Diaz wouldn't allow Martin to throw new baseballs to his pitchers after fouls in the Yankees' 6-5 victory over the Angels on Wednesday. It was Diaz's way of punishing Martin because he argued some balls and strikes.

"He just wanted to know what happened," Martin said of the phone call with Torre. "I guess he spoke to Laz and wanted to speak to me to see both sides of the story.''

Martin isn't sure if MLB will take action with any sort of fine. "I haven't been told anything,'' he said. "I don't want anybody to get fined, to be honest. That day is over. I already feel like it's already old news to me.''

Martin said he doesn't regret anything that happened Wednesday in Anaheim. "I don't,'' he said. "I didn't say anything that bad.''

Martin added that after talking with Torre, he believes the matter is closed.

Joe Girardi, a former catcher, doesn't expect there to be any carryover the next time Diaz is behind the plate working a Yankees game.

"We might not see him for three months,'' Girardi said. "I'm not concerned. And I'm sure baseball will watch. He understands that, too. This will die. I don't think this will become a huge story.''

GARDNER UPDATE: Girardi said on Friday before the game that he's hopeful left fielder Brett Gardner could return as soon as next weekend.

Gardner has been out since April 18 with a right elbow strain.

"It probably just depends on the first game he gets in,'' Girardi said. "I think it's possible that you can have him next weekend or the series after that.''

Girardi said Gardner did well in his drills on Friday, including BP in the cage. "Eventually we'll get him on the field, he'll start hitting pretty soon and then we'll get him in some games,'' he said. "So he's doing OK.''

D-ROB UPDATE: Girardi wasn't as optimistic when it came to a timetable for reliever David Robertson, who has been out since May 15th with a strained left oblique.

Robertson was scheduled to throw a bullpen on Saturday, although he could be pushed back until Sunday after rain washed him out today.

"You got to get him a BP and you got to him in some games, you got to get him into more than one game,'' Girardi said.

Girardi said there are different challenges in getting a reliever back from the disabled list. "Problem with a reliever is that you can't go three days in a row or four days in a row like a position player,'' he said.

GRANDY LOOKING FOR HITS: Curtis Granderson still loves the long ball. Granderson hit his 17th homer of the season in the second, a grand slam. But before the game, batting coach Kevin Long said he now wants him to start mixing in some double and triples.

"It's been basically feast or famine, '' Grandy said. "I just want to repeat the good swing over and you're going to get your doubles. Maybe you didn't get it all the way, but you got it enough.''

LEYLAND RESPECTS CANO: It's not often that a manager shows public admiration for a player on another team. But Jim Leyland can't help but let people know how much he likes Yankees All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano.

In spring training, Leyland went out of way to speak and give Cano a nice hug before the Yankees and Tigers played in Lakeland. "I think I have as much respect for Robinson Cano as an opposing player as any player I've managed against,'' Leyland said. "I just think he's so special. I'm not going to get into some formal dissertation about it. I just think he, to me, is a great, great player.''

In 2006, Leyland was on board about how good Cano was already. In talking about the Yankees' lineup in that first round playoff series, Leyland described the lineup as, "Murderers' Row and Cano.'' Leyland believes he's a super hitter.

Leyland's love for Cano wasn't in any way in disrespect to any of his players. It's just that Leyland loves baseball and a player who can play it so effortlessly. "He's playing on that big stage all the time and the guy's just like so calm, so collected. You hate to say it. I don't really pass that much praise out to opposing players. But let me put it this way: When he's playing against other teams in the American League, I really enjoy watching him play.''

You can bet, however, that Leyland hoped Cano didn't do any damage against his team this weekend.