Russell Martin out of lineup again

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees starting catcher Russell Martin was a late scratch from the lineup for Monday night's 1-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians with a recurrence of the lower back stiffness that had sidelined him for four of the past five games.

Martin was batting eighth in the original lineup but was scratched about an hour before first pitch and replaced by Francisco Cervelli. The move was announced after the Yankees clubhouse was closed to reporters.

After missing four straight games, Martin had returned to the lineup on Sunday but went 0-for-4 in the Yankees' 9-1 rout of the Indians. After the game, he said, "It's still there but something I can play with."

Martin suffered the injury during a workout following a game between the Yankees and Red Sox on June 7. He had an MRI last week, which came back negative. But over the past three weeks, Martin -- who started out batting .293 with six home runs in April -- has been slumping. Since May 24, when he had a home run and two RBIs against the Blue Jays, Martin has gone 2-for-31 (.065) and his batting average has fallen to .232.

On Sunday, Martin hit into two double plays and struck out. The Indians were also successful in five-of-five stolen base attempts against Martin and Freddy Garcia.

"We'll see how he feels tomorrow,'' Joe Girardi had said after Sunday's game. "It's important to see how he bounces back."

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.