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Victor Martinez to miss rest of 2017 season following chronic ablation surgery

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Tigers’ designated hitter Victor Martinez is done for the season, the team confirmed Saturday. He’ll undergo chronic ablation surgery to repair the tissue in his heart that is causing an irregular heartbeat. Martinez was placed on the 10-day disabled list last Sunday following an episode that required hospitalization. It was his second stint on the DL due to heart issues.

The good news? While heart surgery can’t exactly be classified as a minor procedure, the recovery timetable for this treatment is expected to be relatively short. Comments from team manager Brad Ausmus suggested that Martinez won’t suffer long-term effects from the surgery and doesn’t appear to be contemplating retirement in the near future. He should be eligible to return to the team again in the spring, barring any unforeseen complications.

Martinez, 38, finished his 2017 run with a .255/.324/.372 batting line, 10 home runs and 47 RBI through 435 plate appearances. This is the first major medical issue the veteran slugger has dealt with since undergoing hernia surgery during the 2016 offseason. Per MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the Tigers will place Martinez on the 60-day disabled list on Sunday to clear roster space for right-handed prospect Artie Lewicki.

Sheldon Ocker named winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award

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The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Sheldon Ocker the winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 29.

Ocker began covering the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal in 1981 and did so until 2013, when he retired. He was national president of the BBWAA in 1985 and served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter 11 times. He named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year in 1997 and 2000 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.