Victor Martinez Not in Lineup for Detroit Tigers in Series Opener With Chicago White Sox


Apr 6, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) at bat against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Detroit Tigers released the lineup for Friday’s series opener with the Chicago White Sox, normal designated hitter Victor Martinez wasn’t included. James Schmehl notes that manager Brad Ausmus was concerned after watching Martinez pinch hit in the Pittsburgh series:

"Martinez was spotted grabbing at his back after striking out in the ninth inning during a pinch-hit at-bat on Tuesday.Tigers manager Brad Ausmus admitted after Tuesday’s game that he was concerned after watching Martinez take several uncomfortable swings."

Martinez had exited a game with a mild knee issue last Saturday, but he returned to the lineup the very next day to conclude the series in Cleveland. He didn’t start at all in Pittsburgh (because the National League still plays baseball like it’s 1900), but did make two pinch hit appearances, striking out both times.

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Martinez has struggled at the plate to start the year. His strikeout rate has surged to 17% (it was under 7% last year), he’s drawn just two unintentional walks, and he still hasn’t knocked an extra base hit. We’re still early in the year — and Victor is probably still catching up from missing the start of spring camp — so there’s no reason to panic, but the Tigers are going to need him to round into form if they hope to stay on top of the AL Central for the long haul.

Injury concerns have followed Martinez for much of his career, and now that the Tigers have signed the 36 year old to a 4-year deal, we’re going to have to white-knuckle our way through every bump and bruise, hoping this isn’t the knee or back tweak that causes him to miss another full season.

If Martinez is going to be held out of games, even if he avoids a stint on the disabled list, it might be wise to call up Tyler Collins so that Rajai Davis doesn’t have to bat against many tough right-handed pitchers, but with Andrew Romine and Hernan Perez both being out of options, a short-term roster move wouldn’t be so simple.

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