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.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.