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.