Jim Leyland has penciled Victor Martinez into tonight’s lineup. Not as a DH, though. As a catcher.
This marks the first time behind the plate since August 4, 2011. Between Alex Avila coming up and Martinez tearing his ACL before the 2012 season, catching just wasn’t in the cards for him. But now Alex Avila is recovering from a concussion and the Tigers are playing in an NL Park and Jim Leyland doesn’t want to take Martinez’s bat out of the lineup.
Never a great defensive catcher when that was his usual gig, the time off has probably made him pretty rusty. If the Mets get runners on base, you have to assume they’ll have the green light all night long.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.