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Russell Martin takes batting practice, reports no pain

March 21, 2010 | 12:08 pm

Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, nursing a strained right groin that's expected to keep him out past opening day, took batting practice against minor-league pitchers Sunday morning and afterward said he didn't feel any discomfort.

"Everything went well," he said after the practice at the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch spring-training complex. "It felt completely normal."

But Russell has said he's being careful with the injury to avoid a relapse that could sideline him during the regular season. He didn't do any running Sunday and doesn't plan to start intensive running drills until late in his rehabilitation.

Backup catcher A.J. Ellis is expected to start in place of Martin on opening day, April 5, when the Dodgers play the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

-- Jim Peltz in Phoenix