Tigers’ outfielder J.D. Martinez is poised to make his season debut after being activated off the 10-day disabled list on Friday. He was diagnosed with a Lisfranc ligament sprain in his right foot back in mid-March, when he rolled his foot while trying to make a catch during a Grapefruit League game. He’s set to join the team on the road as they continue a four-game series against the Angels at 10:07 ET.
If Martinez’s return feels a little fast, that’s because it is. Detroit manager Brad Ausmus told reporters that he initially wanted the right fielder to take a few more reps in Triple-A before making a return to the majors. That timetable was scrapped when fellow outfielder Jim Adduci suffered an oblique injury during batting practice on Thursday and forced Ausmus to rearrange his outfield options. By Ausmus’ calculations, Martinez saw over 50 at-bats during extended spring training and multiple stints at Triple-A Toledo and High-A Lakeland, and should be healthy enough to man right field in Adduci’s absence. The team is likely to take things slow with the 29-year-old outfielder, however, at least until they’re confident that his foot won’t cause additional problems.
Martinez went 1-for-15 with Toledo this spring, collecting one home run, two RBI and two walks in four games. He hit his second home run in High-A Lakeland, going 3-for-8 with another two RBI in his final two rehab appearances. He’s coming off of his third full season with the Tigers, during which he batted a solid .307/.373/.535 with 22 home runs and a .908 OPS over 460 PA.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”