NEW YORK -- Yankees catcher Russell Martin didn't expect his sore back to be 100 percent, but he thought it should be good enough to catch on Wednesday against the Indians.

Martin returned to the starting lineup after missing the first two contests against Cleveland.

His back tightened up in the eighth inning of Sunday's Subway Series finale against the Mets at Citi Field, and manager Joe Girardi said he'd keep a close eye on Martin's status.

"I'll probably ask him a couple times during the game," Girardi said. "I think you can tell by the way he's moving around, more than anything. He doesn't like to come out."

Back in rotation, Garcia hot at right time

NEW YORK -- Freddy Garcia made his way to the bullpen at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday knowing he would only be used in case of an emergency. Manager Joe Girardi announced before New York's 5-4 win against the Indians that, unless he was needed, Garcia would start Friday in place of an injured CC Sabathia.

But in his two-month crash course in the bullpen, Garcia learned one thing:

"When you're in the bullpen, anything can happen," Garcia said. "You have to be ready every day. I was ready every day."

Now he knows he will start Monday vs. the Rays in St. Petersburg, five days removed from his 2 1/3-inning Wednesday relief appearance after starter Andy Pettitte fractured his ankle on a comebacker. Garcia threw 32 pitches and retired all 10 Cleveland batters he faced, then threw 30 more pitches in the batting cage to stretch out his arm even more.

In his 14-year career, Garcia has 331 starts and only 12 relief appearances. Eight of those came this season after April ended with four starts, a 12.51 ERA and a pair of outings that didn't last two innings.

The right-hander allowed three runs in 17 1/3 innings out of the bullpen since.

"He's getting outs," said general manager Brian Cashman. "Freddy is someone who can figure it out. He's done it for so long.

"I was more surprised by how the season started for him than how he's been pitching lately. It's tough to take a veteran and get him to go to the bullpen, but he did it. He's waited for his opportunity and now it's come back around. I look forward to him taking advantage of it. I know what he's capable of doing. We've seen it before, and I hope we see it again."

Garcia said he wanted his rotation return to come on better terms -- with Sabathia and Pettitte landing on the disabled list on the same day -- but he's grateful for the opportunity. And even in the bullpen, he prepared for it as a starter.

"I've been throwing long toss almost every day, and I feel great," Garcia said. "I wasn't pitching that much, but I was looking for any opportunity every time they put me out there. I'm glad I did my job when they asked me, and now I'm looking forward to starting Monday."

Bombers Bits

Class A Tampa Yankees manager Luis Sojo enters play on Wednesday with 414 victories for the Florida State League club. He is four wins shy of tying Luis Dorante (418) for the most in FSL history.

• Yankees captain Derek Jeter was given a routine day off on Wednesday. Manager Joe Girardi said he expects Jeter to play Thursday.

• New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's game against the White Sox.

• On this date in 1936, the Yankees bashed six home runs off St. Louis Browns starter Tommy Thomas. The six homers off one pitcher set a club record and tied a modern Major League record that still stands today, most recently equaled by the Blue Jays against the Rays' James Shields in 2010.