The Tigers will be without Victor Martinez when they begin a three-game series against the Athletics tonight in Detroit. According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Martinez is dealing with some soreness in his side and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus doesn’t want to risk making it worse.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus described the injury as soreness “kind of on his back, side area.”
“He didn’t want to come out,” Ausmus said, “but we can’t lose Vic for an extended period.”
Ausmus said Martinez looked OK during batting practice, so the move to remove him from the lineup appears to be precautionary.
“Today was the first time I heard about it,” Ausmus said. “He said he felt it a little bit yesterday and felt it again today, so I just decided it would be better to take him out.”
You usually hear this kind of talk in the early stages of an oblique injury, so it’s easy to understand why Ausmus is being cautious here. With “V-Mart” sidelined, J.D. Martinez will slide into the cleanup spot and serve as the designated hitter tonight.
Martinez has been one of the game’s best hitters this season, batting .323/.384/.589 with 2o home runs and 52 RBI over 78 games. While the 35-year-old was a little slow to get going after knee surgery last season, he has more hits than anyone in MLB (213) over the past calendar year.
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.
If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”
[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.
While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.
Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.
This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.
The club’s full complaint can be found here.