NEW YORK -- Russell Martin was out of the Yankees' starting lineup against the Mets on Sunday, one night after lower back stiffness popped up during batting practice at Citi Field, and while manager Joe Girardi would like to continue to rest his catcher, Martin was available if needed.
Martin's absence meant that Chris Stewart was behind the plate yet again with CC Sabathia on the mound, continuing a trend that reached 13 consecutive starts on Sunday. Martin caught Sabathia's first two starts this season, but Stewart has caught the rest.
Girardi wants to get Martin back to catching the staff ace and thought Sunday's game might be the perfect opportunity.
"I may wait until the end of the [All-Star] break now; who knows?" Girardi said. "I'm not sure what I'll do. I want to get those two back together. I was thinking today could have possibly been the day. It very well could have been."
Instead, Martin will likely return to the lineup on Monday against the Indians at Yankee Stadium. The 29-year-old Martin woke up with back stiffness on Sunday, having caught eight innings on Saturday before exiting early. Martin underwent treatment upon his arrival at Citi Field for the series finale and said he felt better.
Martin insisted he will be ready to play Monday.
"I know that it's not severe; I know that," Martin said. "If I'm in the lineup, I'll be ready to play."
Streak keyed Yankees' Interleague dominance
NEW YORK -- The Yankees clinched a victory in their season series against the Mets with Saturday's 4-3 win at Citi Field, but their dominance of the National League stretched across the entirety of Interleague Play.
Entering Sunday's Interleague season finale, the Yankees were 12-5 this season against the NL. They had played their previous 14 games against NL clubs, going 11-3 in that stretch, including a 10-game winning streak that was their longest since 2005. The Yankees are 25-10 in Interleague Play over the past two seasons, and they entered this year with a 157-109 Interleague record -- the best of any team since the format's inception in 1997.
"I think it's us being a talented team," manager Joe Girardi said. "We've been a good team over the years since Interleague started, and I think that's why our club has a successful record."
Girardi believes the Subway Series should always feature an odd number of games, so there is a clear winner. The New York teams met six times this season, and the Yankees took four of the first five games, ensuring a season victory.
Girardi also believes that American League teams are at an advantage in their home parks because they build their lineups with a designated hitter in mind. He used the DH as an opportunity to rest everyday players in his one season managing the NL's Marlins, asking starters to step into a role they were not used to.
"The one year I managed the Marlins, I used it as a chance to rest a Miguel Cabrera and DH him for a day, to rest a Hanley Ramirez," Girardi said. "It wasn't someone who was used to doing it. I think that's what National League clubs have to deal with."
Robinson Cano, the American League captain for the State Farm Home Run Derby, said he has not yet decided whom he will invite to be on the squad. He has not yet asked Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson, though he expressed some hesitance about altering Granderson's swing for the July 9 event.
The Yankees entered play on Sunday with a Major League-leading 110 home runs, marking their most in history through the first 70 games of a season. Their previous high was 109, set in 2002.
Sunday marked Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes' 26th birthday.
On this date in 1962, the Yankees played the longest game in franchise history, defeating the Tigers, 9-7, at Tiger Stadium. Jack Reed's two-run homer in the 22nd inning was the winning blow, as Jim Bouton allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings to earn the victory in relief. The time of game was exactly seven hours.
Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.