Reporting from Phoenix — Russell Martin is ahead of schedule in his recovery, enough so that he is slated to catch four innings of a minor league game today and has some club officials cautiously optimistic that he will be ready for opening day.
Martin, who was expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks with a groin strain he suffered earlier this month, ran the bases on Monday and Wednesday.
"I was pain free," Martin said. "It feels awesome."
Martin was not ready to make any promises about opening day, but said his groin has healed to the point that he does not think it will keep him out of the lineup on April 5 in Pittsburgh.
"It's really just getting back into the baseball swing of things, getting back to the point where I can catch nine innings and not feel beat up," he said.
Martin said he does not know how many games or at-bats he will need to be game-ready.
"For me to feel awesome — I don't know," he said. "I might go out there my first day and feel great, who knows? I'll just take it day by day."
Martin has spent plenty of time in the weight room since getting hurt, but said he has lost weight in the last few weeks. Martin reported to camp weighing 231 pounds.
Martin said he is ready to get back on the field.
"You get tired of people telling you what you can and can't do," he said.
Ethier's number retired
Andre Ethier had a chance to reflect on his road to the majors, as he took part in a ceremony at his high school alma mater. The No. 14 jersey he wore at St. Mary's High in Phoenix was retired.
Dodgers broadcaster Rick Monday emceed the event, at which former manager Tom Lasorda was a guest speaker.
"I just can't believe 10 years have gone by since I was in those doors," Ethier said.
Ethier said his school wasn't a traditional baseball power.
"It's known more for its basketball and football," he said. "I was kind of joking today that I don't even think half of the student body knows there's a baseball team there."
But St. Mary's High has also produced Orioles pitching prospect Brian Matusz, the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft.
The Dodgers are shopping fifth-starter candidate Eric Stults and infield prospect Chin-lung Hu, according to officials from rival clubs…. Hong-Chih Kuo underwent an MRI exam Monday that showed nothing irregular in his elbow. Kuo threw on flat ground Wednesday…. Brad Ausmus (back) resumed baseball activities.