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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.

Blue Jays shut down Steve Pearce for the rest of 2017

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The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.

Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.

With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.

Brewers’ Julio Mendez remains hospitalized after hit by pitch

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Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.

Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.

Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.