Victor Martinez saw his first game action today since knee surgery ended his 2012 season before it even began and felt pretty good despite going 0-for-2 against the Braves.
Martinez, who will stick to designated hitter this year and not see any time behind the plate for the Tigers, told Chris Iott of MLive.com:
I’m going to go home really happy. I thought I made good contact. I saw the ball good. It felt good … Honestly, I’m not really thinking about the knee. I’m just letting the fans know, I’m not thinking about it. I come to spring training now like I used to be: just getting ready to get to the season.
Last season Tigers designated hitters combined for a .257 batting average and .687. Martinez hit .330 with an .850 OPS in 2011 and has never posted an OPS below .800 in a full season.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.