Tigers not expecting Victor Martinez to play this season

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At one point the Tigers were hopeful that Victor Martinez could return from knee surgery to play this season, but yesterday general manager Dave Dombrowski admitted: “We’re not counting on it.”

Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Martinez hasn’t suffered a specific setback in his recovery, but the process is simply taking longer than initially hoped and now “the best-case scenario is a mid-September return.”

Or as Dombrowski put it: “Is there a chance? I guess there’s a chance, but we’re not counting on it. He’s just not quite ready yet. He still needs some strengthening of his leg, and we’re not going to be in a position where we take any chances with him.”

In his absence Detroit designated hitters–mostly Delmon Young–rank 13th in the 14-team league with a .641 OPS, batting just .246 with eight homers in 95 games. Martinez hit .330 with an .850 OPS last season and has posted an OPS below .840 just once in eight full seasons as a big leaguer. He’s being paid $13 million this season and is owed another $25 million for the next two years.