UPDATE: Russell Martin has MRI, out 4-6 weeks

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UPDATE: Dodgers manager Joe Torre told Hernandez this afternoon that Martin is out four-to-six weeks.  It’s highly doubtful that he will be recovered in time for Opening Day.

10:25am: Hernandez hears that Martin’s MRI showed a “little strain” in his lower abdominal area.  He’s expected to sit out the next few spring games.

9:14am: Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Dodgers catcher Russell Martin felt a “twinge” in his groin area Saturday and was taken to a local hospital for an MRI.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre insisted that the test was precautionary when he spoke to reporters yesterday, but there’s no way of truly knowing the severity of the injury until the MRI results are revealed (likely sometime this afternoon).

“Hopefully, it’s nothing more than [something] that will get better with
a little rest,” Torre said Saturday. “But we’ll see.”

Martin, 27, is in desperate need of a bounce-back year.  He batted a measly .250/.352/.329 last season with seven home runs and just 11 stolen bases in 588 plate appearances.  In 2008 he swiped 18 bases, and in 2007 he nabbed 21.  The man is a .276/.368/.407 career hitter over four major league seasons.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
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Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.