Injured Martin defends added bulk

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, who will miss an estimated four to six weeks with a pulled right groin, defended the bulked-up physique he brought to spring training this year and discounted it as a possible cause of his injury.

"I told everybody else last year, told all the other players, that I was going to come back strong,'' Martin said. "I'm on top of my game as far as getting my body in shape and knowing what it takes to get ready for the season. For some players, gaining weight means they're out of shape. But I was doing cardio, flexibility work, things like that.

"Last year, I hit a lot of fly balls that went to the warning track, and that was frustrating. This year, maybe I'll have a little more carry on those.''

On March 7, the day Martin was diagnosed with the injury, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti seemed to question Martin's decision to bulk up as much as he did this winter, and Colletti also said Martin had failed to maintain communication with club officials and the Dodgers' medical staff.

"The way he came into camp, we can't tell anybody what is best for them,'' Colletti said that day. "Obviously, he decided that coming in the condition he did was best for him. We had communications with him throughout the winter, and then that went cold for a little bit of time. But he knows what is at stake. He isn't somebody who doesn't understand what we are trying to do here, nor does he not understand what he is trying to do personally in his career.

"I'm sure he isn't very happy with [the injury] either, but it's one of those things. Guys get hurt all the time.''

Martin said he feels great and that he is able to perform certain activities such as swinging a bat and lifting weights without pain. But he also said the real test will be running, something he hasn't done so far except on a special treadmill that adjusts for body weight to reduce pounding on the lower body.

Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said the day Martin got hurt that the danger with groin injuries is that the symptoms go away very quickly but the injury heals more slowly. That often leads to a player pushing to get back onto the field too quickly.

The initial prognosis of four to six weeks, which Conte admitted is nothing more than a rough estimate, would have Martin beginning the season on the disabled list.

"He feels really good,'' Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Wednesday. "But it's something where we have to make sure it's completely gone before he comes back, because once the season starts, we won't have time for that.''

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.