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Martin activated, slated to start finale vs. Bucs

@kengurnick
April 27, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, on the injured list since April 9 with a lower back strain was activated off the injured list on Saturday afternoon after passing a simulated-game test on Friday. He will start on Sunday, when pitcher Rich Hill also will be activated to start

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, on the injured list since April 9 with a lower back strain was activated off the injured list on Saturday afternoon after passing a simulated-game test on Friday. He will start on Sunday, when pitcher Rich Hill also will be activated to start the series finale against the Pirates.

Martin caught, batted, ran the bases and stopped balls in the dirt on Friday.

“He looks great,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We did as much as we could outside of having a real game. I think we’ve checked all the boxes. He feels confident. I expect him to be in the starting lineup on Sunday.”

Martin caught several innings, one thrown by Kenta Maeda in a regularly scheduled between-starts throwing session.

Hill will make his 2019 debut on Sunday after being sidelined by a strained left knee since March 17.

• Left-handed reliever Tony Cingrani, hampered by a tender shoulder since Spring Training last year, pitched well in an extended spring training game on Friday in Arizona and Roberts said he could begin a Minor League rehab assignment next week.

“He threw one inning, 15 pitches, 90-92 [mph], slider was really good, best he’s felt,” said Roberts. “I could see in the next week, get him out to an affiliate. Then you start back-to-back days, one-plus, see how he responds. But today was really positive day for Tony.”

Cingrani was a key deadline acquisition in 2017, but his ERA jumped two runs last year as he battled shoulder issues the entire season. Since June 6, 2018, he’s faced only four Major League batters (last September) and never pitched in a game this Spring Training.

• Roberts said Ross Stripling, who started and pitched 4 2/3 innings on Thursday in Chicago, probably won’t be available out of the bullpen until Monday night in San Francisco. Stripling goes to the bullpen to make room for Hill’s return to the starting rotation.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.