Tag: Victor Martinez

Miguel Cabrera

In the wake of the Miguel Cabrera injury the Tigers have few good options


DETROIT — It may be the Fourth of July, but Miguel Cabrera’s calf strain has sapped Comerica Park of its festive spirit. Indeed, despite sunny summer skies and red white and blue everywhere you look, it’s the gloomiest I’ve ever seen it.

When Cabrera came out of last night’s game with a calf strain you knew it had to be serious. Cabrera has played hurt in the past. He’s played injured in the past. He’s played when he probably shouldn’t have more times than I can count. But short of him literally missing a limb you never expect him to come out of a game.

That’s when Brad Ausmus knew it was bad, well before the MRI results showing a grade-3 calf strain came back.

“When Miggy says he can’t play, it’s serious, because Miggy plays through anything,” Ausmus said this morning. But he won’t be playing though this. Ausmus said he’s still waiting on a second opinion, but he doesn’t expect it to be any better. “I looked at the MRI. You can ask me about it,” Ausmus said. But even Dr. Ausmus is resigned to the fact that the best hitter in baseball will be out six weeks. And as he sat and spoke to the media this morning, he made it clear that the Tigers’ options are limited.

Alex Avilia will get the start today, but he has played only three career games at first base. And, Ausmus reminded us, he was just activated from the disabled list himself. He’s worried enough about Avila playing back-to-back games at the position he knows, let alone one that’s mostly unfamiliar.

Jefry Marte taks grounders the morning after being called up. — photo Craig Calcaterra

The Tigers called up Jefry Marte from Toledo to take Caberea’s spot on the roster. Marte is 24 and is an eight-year minor league veteran. He’s hitting a respectable .271/.337/.497 at Toledo this year, but he is a third baseman, having only played a handful of games at first base in the Texas League and the Arizona Fall League. The system is devoid of anyone at first with major league experience. “Minor league free agent first basemen don’t want to sign with the Tigers,” Ausmus said “knowing that the best hitter in the game is here on a long term deal.” The 37-year-old Mike Hessman, just a few homers shy of the all-time minor league record, has played over 450 games at first between the majors and minors, but no one considers him an option.

What say you about Victor Martinez, Brad Ausmus? He’s played nearly 200 games at first.

“Victor in my mind is not an option,” Ausmus said. “He’s not on the radar.” The reason is simple: health. And, Ausmus added, “if you play him at first base and he gets hurt, then you’ve lost two bats.”

That leaves the trade market, but the pickings for a solid first baseman look slim. Ryan Howard is out there, but given how he’s hitting this year you can’t bet on him being a better option than Marte, at many, many times the price, either in salary or trade. And what do the Tigers trade anyway? Their most obvious trade chit may be Yoenis Cespedes, but you have to think the Tigers were hoping to hold him for a trade for a pitcher. Or two. And if you deal him now, the lineup will have only one serious power threat in J.D. Martinez.

One option, which I presume no one associated with the Tigers is eager to consider let alone speak about in public, is to make the best of a bad situation and use the Cabrera injury as an excuse to punt on 2015 and reposition for 2016. Be willing to go without that power in the second half if you can get someone who helps next year. Move some other pieces or even engage in an on-the-fly rebuild. After all, the Tigers are six games out in the AL Central. Maybe it’s time to get creative.

Or, maybe, when your owner is 90-years-old and has poured serious, serious money into this club, “rebuild” is a four-letter word.

Where does that leave the Tigers?

“Sometimes you find out more about a team when a player like Miggy goes down,” Ausmus said. “We’ll see what type of fight we have.”

We’ll find out right along with him.


Victor Martinez on the Pirates: “I have no respect for no one on that team”

Victor Martinez

In this age of “you gotta tip your cap to the other team” kinds of quotes it’s rare to hear real animosity coming from a major league clubhouse. But you heard it yesterday from Victor Martinez, referring to the Pirates. And not just at a single player. He is not pleased with that entire team. From the Detroit Free Press:

“I have no respect for no one on that team, including Cole and their coaching staff.”

The context: Justin Verlander hit Starling Marte with a pitch on Tuesday night. It was not, it appeared, intentional, as it came in a 1-2 count, there had been nothing to provoke Verlander and, to be fair, Verlander’s command has not been fantastic lately. Later, however, when Martinez was up, Gerrit Cole hit him in the ribs in what everyone on the Tigers, Brad Ausmus included, thinks was intentional. Martinez:

“Yeah, everyone knows that,” Martinez said when asked by WXYT-FM reporter Jeff Riger if he thought Cole’s pitch was intentional . . . If they think that Verlander hit Marte with a 1-2 count — he was battling that at-bat — if they really think we did it on purpose, they’re playing the wrong sport.”

No matter what you think of this situation — and you have to be opposed to guys throwing at other guys intentionally — you have to love Cole’s comment when told of Martinez’s words: “That’s his opinion, man.” The dude abides.

For purposes of interleague play, the Tigers and the Pirates are designated as “rivals,” mostly because each lacks a traditional or natural rival in the other league. Now, one assumes, the rivalry actually has some teeth.


And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Maikel Franco

Phillies 11, Yankees 6: Maikel Franco had five RBI for the second straight night and homered once again. This either has Yankees fans hating his guts or, as is their habit and primary defense mechansim, telling people exactly how long it is until Franco is a free agent and photoshopping him into Yankees gear.

Orioles 6, Red Sox 4: Adam Jones is out, David Lough is in center field in his place. No worries, as Lough hit a three-run homer. John Farrell got ejected after arguing balls and strikes. His comment: “I said a thing probably one too many times.”

Jerry Remy:  I’ve never seen John so angry. And frankly, sports fans, he used a word that’s a no-no with umpires.
Millie: [turns TV off] John must’ve called the guy a ______.
Mrs. Farrell: Mmmmm. How romantic.

Tigers 7, Indians 3: Who says no one likes going to Cleveland? Detroit is 20-5 there since the beginning of the 2013. They were likely inspired by this:


David Price allowed one run while pitching into the seventh. Yoenis Cespedes and Nick Castellanos each drove in two. Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Andrew Romine each notched two hits.

White Sox 6, Twins 2: Jeff Samardzija allowed two and struck out seven over seven innings. Jose Abreu notched four of the White Sox’ 15 hits. This paragraph appears in the box score:

The White Sox had eight of their 15 hits with two outs for four RBI. They had two-plus hits with runners in scoring position for the first time in 19 games, going 5 for 16.

At some point we need to have a national conversation about how hitting with two outs and hitting with runners in scoring position is not a skill and is not necessarily even significant in any way despite the fact that it’s satisfying for certain people. This paragraph appears because someone asked Robin Ventura about it, as if it were something requiring his insight as opposed to just being a thing that happened. Most stuff is baseball are just things that happen.

Rays 4, Blue Jays 3: Chris Archer was solid again, allowing one earned run and striking out seven in eight innings. Three of his nine wins have come against the Blue Jays this season. He’s 6-1 against them lifetime. Two of the Rays four runs were made possible by a wild pitch and a passed ball from R.A. Dickey. Live by the knuckler, die by the knuckler.

Brewers 3, Mets 2: Michael Cuddyer misplayed a double off the wall allowing Carlos Gomez to come around to score the go-ahead run. That’s six straight losses for the Mets, who currently have Travis d’Arnaud David Wright and Daniel Murphy on the disabled list. That they’re only two and a half back of Washington is something of a miracle. Imagine if they, you know, had a lineup.

Nationals 3, Braves 1: Stephen Strasburg came back from the DL and pitched five shutout innings, striking out six. He was backed by four hits from Anthony Rendon. The Braves threatened in the ninth, but it amounted to nothing. Storms delayed the start of this one by two hours, giving Braves fans extra time to dwell on how bad their lineup looks without Freddie Freeman in it.

Pirates 7, Reds 6: Down 4-0, the Pirates hung seven runs in the fourth inning and then hung on themselves as the Reds came close but not close enough. A two-run homer for Andrew McCutchen and a three-run shot for Francisco Cervelli. After McCutchen hit his homer he was almost the victim of a beaning when a breaking ball thrown his direction failed to break. So he did pushups.

Cardinals 4, Marlins 3: Giancarlo Stanton hit a homer approximately 8,000 feet, but he’s just one man. Carlos Martinez started poorly and got hit on the shoulder when squaring to bunt, but he settled down and struck out nine in seven innings.

Athletics 8, Rangers 6: Josh Phegley homered and had a two-run double. Oakland dug themselves too deep a hole in April and May but they’re 12-8 in June.

Cubs 1, Dodgers 0: Four in a row for the Cubs as they walk off on a Chris Denorfia sac fly. Strong pitching performances from Zack Greinke (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER) and Jason Hammel (7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER) both went unrewarded with a decision. Los Angeles has dropped six of eight.

Rockies 10, Diamondbacks 5: Nolan Arenado hit two homers. He now has 19 on the year. Wilin Rosario, D.J. LeMahieu and Brandon Barnes all homered as well. The Dbacks hit three of their own to make it eight overall in the game. Which was in Colorado, by the way. In case you did not know that.

Astros 13, Angels 3: Luis Valbuena hit two homers. Carlos Correa hit a three-run homer to give the Astros a 4-0 lead early and they never looked back. Correa is at .308/.338/.569 with four bombs in 15 games. He had three hits in all. The Astros lead baseball with 107 homers. Which is a lot of homers.

Mariners 7, Royals 0: Rookie Mike Montgomery tossed a four-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts. He was a first round pick of the Royals back in 2008 and they traded him away. It was in the famous James Shields/Wade Davis trade, however, so I figure Kansas City is cool with that even if this one smarted a bit.

Padres 3, Giants 2: Madison Bumgarner was cruising until the eighth — by the time that inning had started he had been shutting out San Diego and had struck out 13 on his way to 14Ks in all — but then he gave up two runs which eventually forced extra innings. Alexi Amarista singled in the go-ahead and, ultimately, the winning run in the 11th.

Victor Martinez homered Sunday for first time since May 5

Victor Martinez

Victor Martinez is back with the Tigers after missing over a month of action with discomfort in his surgically-repaired left knee and he went way deep in Sunday’s series finale at Yankee Stadium …

That was V-Mart’s first home run since May 5 and only his second this year. He hit 32 homers in 2014.

Victor Martinez rejoins the Tigers after a month on the disabled list

victor martinez getty

Victor Martinez is off the disabled list and ready to resume being the Tigers’ starting designated hitter after missing the past month with inflammation in his surgically repaired left knee.

Martinez returned sooner than planned from the surgery that was initially expected to potentially knock him out for Opening Day, but he was clearly playing at less than full strength. He hit just .216 with one homer and a .578 OPS in 34 games, compared to hitting .335 with 32 homers and a league-leading .974 OPS in 151 games last season.

It was painful to watch Martinez try to fight through the injury at times, particularly when he was obviously struggling to put any weight on his left leg on swings, but Detroit’s lineup could certainly use a boost. Since scoring double-digit runs in back-to-back games in mid-May the Tigers have a sub-.700 OPS with an average of 3.7 runs per game in their last 30 games.

They’re also heavily invested in getting Martinez healthy and keeping him healthy, because he’s 36 years old and in the first season of a four-year, $68 million contract.