Victor Martinez AP

Victor Martinez scratched from lineup due to soreness in side

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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.

Corey Dickerson has lost 25 pounds

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Corey Dickerson #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo during the Rays' photo day on February 25, 2016 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.

Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!