Tigers officially rule out Victor Martinez for the season

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At some point there was a little bit of optimism about Victor Martinez potentially returning from knee surgery to play this season, but two weeks ago the Tigers said that was unlikely and today they officially ruled it out.

Team trainer Kevin Rand told Jason Beck of MLB.com that Martinez has run out of time in his rehab and will now focus on being 100 percent healthy for spring training.

Martinez underwent microfracture surgery in January, but has yet to be cleared for full-speed running. He was paid $12 million this season without taking an at-bat and is owed another $13 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014.

He had been slated to be the Tigers’ full-time designated hitter, but in Martinez’s absence the team’s DHs have combined to hit just .256 with 11 homers and a .674 OPS that ranks 12th in the AL.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.