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Tigers coming to crossroads with hobbled Victor Martinez

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez zeroes in on a pitch that he turns into a ground-rule double in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring Miguel Cabrera to give the Tigers an 8-0 lead.

Detroit — A decision may have to be made about Victor Martinez fairly soon.

"We have to figure out what the best solution is for Victor and for the Tigers from a medical standpoint," manager Brad Ausmus said after the Tigers 9-1 victory Sunday.

Martinez, a little more than eight weeks removed from meniscus surgery on his left knee, is clearly hobbled. It is noticeable when he swings from the left side of the plate, it is especially noticeable when he runs and for the first time, it was noticeable when he took a swing right-handed.

"It's uncomfortable," said Martinez, who still managed to go 3-for-3 with a double, all swinging right-handed.

He was asked if he might be making the situation worse.

"No, I don't think I am doing any more damage," he said. "If it continues to get worse I will say something. It's something I have to play through for a little bit. Hopefully it goes away sooner than later."

Ausmus before the game said the pain Martinez was feeling was not in the area of the surgery. The pain is at the top of the knee — in the kneecap. Martinez said he felt pain in the same area after he had microfracture surgery to repair his ACL in the left knee in 2012.

"It feels sometimes similar, like it was in my kneecap," he said. "But I don't think it was like it is now."

Martinez was able to work through that residual pain the last time. He's hoping he can do so again.

"What's bothering him is in the area in the top of the knee, which may or may not have been caused by the weakening of the knee," Ausmus said. "But it's not actually the surgical area that is the issue…that's the positive."

Martinez was asked if he has considered going on the disabled list.

"I don't think so," he said. "I don't think so."

Ausmus said the plan was to play Martinez against both right-handed and left-handed pitchers in the Yankees series, which starts Monday. Martinez said he can swing from both sides of the plate.

"If it is a close game, I am going to be able to swing both ways," he said.

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky