Victor Martinez expected to begin minor league rehab assignment Sunday

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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.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.