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Joe Girardi has Russell Martin's back

Russell Martin doubles in the 2nd inning. (May

Russell Martin doubles in the 2nd inning. (May 12, 2012) Credit: David Pokress

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Joe Girardi doesn’t foresee Russell Martin’s batting average staying below .200 the rest of the season. But if the catcher does stick there, he’s secure in the lineup.

“I’ll live with it,” Girardi said before Tuesday night’s game. “We know that Russell’s able to catch at a very high level back there ... As a catcher, to me, the most important job is defense. And he’s able to do that.”

Martin had two hits Monday night, including a tying two-run double in the seventh, to raise his average to .186. His OBP is .329.

“I’ve been starting to feel pretty good at the plate,” Martin said. “Obviously, the numbers aren’t going to change overnight. But I feel like I’m hitting the ball better, taking better swings.” ...

Girardi said Brett Gardner (strained right elbow), after a second straight day taking “dry” swings, likely would advance to hitting off a tee Wednesday. David Robertson (strained left oblique) made 50 throws and “felt good,” Girardi said ... The Yankees acquired RHP Ryota Igarashi, 33, who pitched for the Mets from 2010-2011, off waivers from the Blue Jays and assigned him to Scranton ... Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson were both in Tuesday night’s lineup, showing no ill effects of their third-inning collision Monday ... DH Russell Branyan, a non-roster invitee who missed most of spring training with a back injury, started for Class-A Tampa Tuesday night ... David Aardsma, signed by the Yankees on Feb. 22 with an eye toward next season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, is to throw batting practice Friday in Tampa.

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