Victor Martinez takes batting practice; could be ready for Opening Day?

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Victor Martinez took batting practice Monday for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in mid-February and felt good enough to create some optimism that the Tigers designated hitter could be ready for Opening Day.

Martinez is currently four weeks into what was initially a 4-6 week recovery timetable for a torn meniscus in his left knee. He’s avoided any setbacks, but stopped short of targeting Opening Day, telling Jason Beck of MLB.com:

I don’t know anything about that … Just thank god everything is going good. We will see what happens.

Martinez re-signed with the Tigers on a four-year, $68 million deal as a free agent this offseason after hitting .335 with 32 homers and a career-high .974 OPS at age 35.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.