August 27, 2014 at 1:00 am

Notebook

Purpose pitch? Tigers' J.D. Martinez brushes off close encounter with Esmil Rogers fastball

Detroit — J.D. Martinez honestly didn’t know what to think about it.

He had already collected two singles and a double by the time he came to bat in the eighth inning Tuesday night. The first pitch he saw from reliever Esmil Rogers was a fastball that sailed past his head.

After a night to process it, Martinez still wasn’t sure if Rogers was trying to deliver a message or if the pitch just got away.

“I don’t know,” Martinez said before the game Wednesday. “I talked to a bunch of the guys. It just doesn’t look right in that situation. If that’s the case, just (throw it) anywhere, but not the head. That’s when it gets scary.”

After Martinez flew out, he ran past the mound. Rogers appeared to say something and Martinez nodded his head and ran to the dugout.

“He said something like, ‘Good at-bat, my bad, got away from me’ — I don’t know,” Martinez said. “I was still in the heat of the moment and I really wasn’t paying attention to him.”

Martinez said if Rogers was apologizing, he has accepted and there were no hard feelings.

“Anytime a team tries to dust you off, tries to get you off your plan, scare you, get you uncomfortable, whatever — if I let that happen, then it’s on me,” he said. “I try not to even think about it.

“But a lot of the veteran guys said I was a lot cooler than I should have been about it. Those guys were like, ‘If he did that to me, everybody would know I was mad.’”

Injury updates

Reliever Joakim Soria took another step toward returning from his oblique strain. He threw on consecutive days for the first time.

“He felt good today,” Ausmus said. “He felt good, he stretched it out a little farther. I think tomorrow he’s off, then he’ll back up even farther.”

Asked if Soria might be sent to the Instructional League to get some throwing in before he is activated, Ausmus said, “We aren’t to that point yet.”

As for Miguel Cabrera, he’s still playing through a sore right ankle. Ausmus was asked if a cortisone shot would alleviate the pain.

“I am not a doctor, so I don’t know,” he said. “My best guess is that on a day to day basis, if he can deal with it he’ll play and if it’s causing more pain than he can deal with, he won’t play.”

Ausmus said the pain is most acute when he runs. Cabrera told him that it isn’t as bothersome in the field or even at the plate.

Defending Kinsler

Ian Kinsler came up with the bases loaded and one out in the second inning Tuesday. Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy had already walked two batters, including Rajai Davis with the bases loaded, and hit another batter.

Kinsler swung at the first pitch and grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Asked if he would have preferred Kinsler take a pitch in that situation, Ausmus said, “Not necessarily. You’ve got guys in scoring position and the first pitch might be the only pitch you get to hit. To sit on your heels and say you are going to take a pitch and you get a fastball down the middle and you are down 0-1 and maybe blown your only chance to open up the game.

“Now, you can zone in on where you want the ball and look for a specific pitch, but sitting in and hoping you are going to walk against a guy who doesn’t walk many people is not the best course of action.”

Arizona Fall League Tigers

The Tigers announced that seven prospects will play for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League: Infielder Devon Travis, outfielders Steven Moya and Daniel Fields, and pitchers Drew VerHagen, Zac Reininger, Joe Mantiply and Chad Smith.

chris.mccosky@detroitnews.com

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J.D. Martinez went 3-for-4 Tuesday night against the Yankees. He also took a pitch way up and in. / Detroit News / Robin Buckson