Victor Martinez scratched from lineup due to soreness in side

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The Tigers will be without Victor Martinez when they begin a three-game series against the Athletics tonight in Detroit. According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Martinez is dealing with some soreness in his side and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus doesn’t want to risk making it worse.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus described the injury as soreness “kind of on his back, side area.”

“He didn’t want to come out,” Ausmus said, “but we can’t lose Vic for an extended period.”

Ausmus said Martinez looked OK during batting practice, so the move to remove him from the lineup appears to be precautionary.

“Today was the first time I heard about it,” Ausmus said. “He said he felt it a little bit yesterday and felt it again today, so I just decided it would be better to take him out.”

You usually hear this kind of talk in the early stages of an oblique injury, so it’s easy to understand why Ausmus is being cautious here. With “V-Mart” sidelined, J.D. Martinez will slide into the cleanup spot and serve as the designated hitter tonight.

Martinez has been one of the game’s best hitters this season, batting .323/.384/.589 with 2o home runs and 52 RBI over 78 games. While the 35-year-old was a little slow to get going after knee surgery last season, he has more hits than anyone in MLB (213) over the past calendar year.