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.
Tigers slugger Victor Martinez was cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday at Triple-A Toledo and he will remain with the Mud Hens through Thursday. There’s nothing official yet, but V-Mart is expected to meet up with the Tigers this Friday at Yankee Stadium and it figures that he’ll be activated for the club’s weekend series against the Yankees.
“Whether he’s activated or not, that’s an issue we’ll have to see how he feels, if he feels like he’s ready,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told MLive.com.
Martinez has been on the disabled list since May 19 because of inflammation in his surgically-repaired left knee. He was batting just .216/.308/.270 with one home run in 130 plate appearances before the injury, but the 36-year-old designated hitter should be able to get it going in a hurry if his health cooperates.
Detroit re-signed V-Mart to a four-year, $68 million free agent contract this past offseason.
Justin Verlander will make his long-awaited season debut this afternoon against the Indians and an important part of the Tigers’ lineup isn’t too far away from a return.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, the plan calls for Victor Martinez to begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow with Triple-A Toledo as he works his way back from inflammation in his surgically-repaired left knee. He’s slated to play four games before being re-evaluated.
Martinez, 36, had surgery on the knee in the spring and it has clearly impacted his performance at the plate. He was batting just .216 with one home run and a .516 OPS through 130 plate appearances prior to landing on the disabled list last month. The hope is that he rest will prove beneficial.