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Russell Martin back in talks with Yankees and others

Free-agent catcher Russell Martin is back in discussions with the Yankees, though he's still believed to be talking to at least one other team, as well.

The Yankees always made a lot of sense for Martin since they need a catcher and their best catching prospects are likely at least a couple years away.

Talks involving Martin generally were said to be "heating up,'' as the catching market is starting to move. The Rangers, who are also looking at their own Mike Napoli, had Martin on their list, too. The Pirates, Mariners and maybe the White Sox are also considering catchers.

As of several days ago, the Yankees and Martin were seen as apart on dollars. But progress has been seen over the weekend.

The Red Sox and Mariners had visits with Napoli, and the Rangers reportedly are set to have one this week with Napoli, who is viewed as more of a "hybrid'' (part catcher/part first baseman) than Martin. A.J. Pierzynski is the other top catcher on the market, but he is very close to White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and could just wind up staying on the South Side.

Martin, who made $7.5 million in 2012, batted .209 with 21 home runs and 53 RBI and was a Gold Glove finalist.

The Yankees like Martin, 29, enough to have tried to sign him long-term this spring, a year before his free agency. He has been a successfull acquisition of GM Brian Cashman.

The Yankees' top two catching prospects are Gary Sanchez and J.R. Murphy and they aren't major-league ready. They also have the defensively adept Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine, who have been backups.

 
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