Updates from Friday, July 18
The Tigers' official Twitter feed reports that Martinez is back on Friday:
#Tigers lineup vs. CLE: Jackson CF Kinsler 2B Cabrera 1B V. Martinez DH JD Martinez LF Hunter RF Castellanos 3B Avila C Suarez SS Sanchez P— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 18, 2014
Matt Mowery of the Oakland Press notes how long the catcher had been out:
Victor Martinez is back in the lineup for the #Tigers for the first time since July 4.— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) July 18, 2014
Updates from Monday, July 14
"There's a 95 percent chance that I'll be able to play when I get back," Martinez told a group of reporters at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis on Monday.
"I'm to the point where I'm almost right there," he said.
For now, Martinez, who initially suffered the strain during an at-bat in Houston on June 29, is expected to rest the next few days. The Tigers don't want him to do any physical activity during the break and he's been instructed not to swing a bat.
"As much I'd love to be in the game, we still have a long way to go," Martinez said. "I have to get right. And have to get back in the lineup and help my team."
Updates from Saturday, July 5
The Tigers' official Twitter feed reports that Victor Martinez isn't in the lineup Saturday:
Lineup vs. TB: Jackson 8, Kinsler 4, Cabrera 3, J. Martinez 9, Hunter DH, Castellanos 5, Avila 2, Romine 6, Davis 7. Sanchez starting.— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) July 5, 2014
Matthew Mowery of The Oakland Press has more from manager Brad Ausmus:
Ausmus says no change in the status of VMart. Said if push came to shove could keep him on shelf until All-Star break.— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) July 5, 2014
Updates from Friday, July 4
The Tigers announced that Martinez left Friday's game:
Victor Martinez left tonight's game due to irritation on his sore back.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 5, 2014
MLB.com's Jason Beck had more detail on the injury:
Ausmus said Martinez unlikely to play Saturday. Martinez indicated he could be out until Tuesday's opener vs. Dodgers.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 5, 2014
Victor Martinez said back injury is on right side, not left.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 5, 2014
Matthew B. Mowery of The Oakland Press had Martinez's thoughts on his sore back:
VMart on whether he might be back to face Price Sunday night: "The way I’m feeling right now, I don’t see it happening."— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) July 5, 2014
Updates from Thursday, July 3
The Tigers confirmed Victor Martinez's return to the lineup:
Lineup vs. TB: Jackson 8, Kinsler 4, Cabrera 3, V. Martinez DH, J. Martinez 7, Hunter 9, Castellanos 5, Avila 2, Suarez 6. Scherzer starts.— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) July 3, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, July 2
The Tigers confirm Victor Martinez won't be in Wednesday's lineup:
#Tigers lineup vs. OAK: Jackson CF Kinsler 2B Cabrera 1B J. Martinez RF Hunter DH Castellanos 3B Avila C Romine SS Davis LF Verlander P— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 2, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, July 1
The Detroit Tigers confirmed Victor Martinez's absence from today's lineup:
#Tigers lineup vs. OAK: Jackson CF Kinsler 2B Cabrera 1B J.D. Martinez DH Hunter RF Castellanos 3B Holaday C Suarez SS Davis LF Porcello P— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 1, 2014
Detroit Tigers fans' hearts likely skipped a beat when they heard that Victor Martinez would be out of the lineup for Monday's game against the Oakland Athletics.
According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, though, Martinez is only suffering from soreness in his side:
Victor Martinez scratched from lineup with soreness in his side/rib cage area.— Chris Iott (@Chris_Iott) June 30, 2014
The Tigers are swapping out one Martinez for another, with J.D. stepping into the DH role for the time being:
J.D. Martinez will DH and hit fourth in place of Victor Martinez.— Chris Iott (@Chris_Iott) June 30, 2014
Manager Brad Ausmus revealed that the decision was more precautionary so as not to have Martinez miss any more time than necessary, per Jason Beck of MLB.com:
Ausmus: "He didn't want to come out, but we can't lose Vic for an extended period."— Jason Beck (@beckjason) June 30, 2014
The 35-year-old is one of the players the Tigers could least afford to lose for a long period of time. Heading into Monday, he was third in the American League in batting average (.323) and fourth in home runs (20). He's been exactly the kind of offensive threat who can ease the pressure on Miguel Cabrera and protect him in the lineup.
As long as Martinez isn't out for a prolonged period, the Tigers should be fine. Losing him for a game or two now won't have a huge impact on the team.
After that terrible start to June, Detroit has found its form again, winning eight of its last 10 games and building a 3.5-game lead over the Kansas City Royals. The Tigers look to be hitting their stride once again and have firmly positioned themselves as the best team in the AL Central.