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04/04/08 9:25 PM ET

Martinez misses one more start

Indians being cautious with catcher, who could return Saturday

OAKLAND -- Victor Martinez ran the bases, hit in the cage and caught a bullpen session Friday afternoon at McAfee Coliseum.

What he didn't do, for the third straight game, was start for the Indians.

But that appears likely to change soon, perhaps as soon as Saturday.

Martinez, working his way back from a left hamstring strain suffered on Opening Day against the White Sox, is happy with the way his leg has responded to treatment.

"I had a good day [Friday]," he said. "I was running the bases up to about 60 percent [intensity]. I didn't feel [the strain] at all. We'll see what happens."

What the Indians want to see is how Martinez feels Saturday, a day after all this activity.

It was doubtful the Indians would give Martinez, who pinch-hit in Thursday's loss to the Sox, the start in Friday's opener of a six-game road trip, regardless of how good he felt. Paul Byrd started Friday's game, which made it likely manager Eric Wedge would go with backup catcher Kelly Shoppach, who caught all of Byrd's starts last season.

Wedge wants to remain cautious with Martinez.

"He's better," Wedge said, "but still not to the point where he can start."

Wedge said that when Martinez does start, it will be behind the plate, not at first base or in the designated hitter spot.

With Martinez out, Wedge has had to shuffle his lineup. Jhonny Peralta has occupied the No. 3 spot, with Travis Hafner moving down to cleanup.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.