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.
Francys Romero reports that, according to his sources, Dodgers pitcher David Price will pay $1,000 out of his own money to each Dodgers minor leaguer who is not on the 40-man roster during the month of June.
That’s a pretty amazing gesture from Price. It’s also extraordinarily telling that such a gesture is even necessary.
Under a March agreement with Major League Baseball, minor leaguers have been receiving financial assistance that is set to expire at the end of May. Baseball America reported earlier this week that the Dodgers will continue to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week past May 31, but it is unclear how long such payments would go. Even if one were to assume that the payments will continue throughout the month of June, however, it’s worth noting that $400 a week is not a substantial amount of money for players to live on, on which to support families, and on which to train and remain ready to play baseball if and when they are asked to return.
Price’s generosity should be lauded here, but this should not be considered a feel-good story overall. Major League Baseball, which has always woefully underpaid its minor leaguers has left them in a vulnerable position once again.