At one point the Tigers were hopeful that Victor Martinez could return from knee surgery to play this season, but yesterday general manager Dave Dombrowski admitted: “We’re not counting on it.”
Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Martinez hasn’t suffered a specific setback in his recovery, but the process is simply taking longer than initially hoped and now “the best-case scenario is a mid-September return.”
Or as Dombrowski put it: “Is there a chance? I guess there’s a chance, but we’re not counting on it. He’s just not quite ready yet. He still needs some strengthening of his leg, and we’re not going to be in a position where we take any chances with him.”
In his absence Detroit designated hitters–mostly Delmon Young–rank 13th in the 14-team league with a .641 OPS, batting just .246 with eight homers in 95 games. Martinez hit .330 with an .850 OPS last season and has posted an OPS below .840 just once in eight full seasons as a big leaguer. He’s being paid $13 million this season and is owed another $25 million for the next two years.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.