V-Mart sits as J.D. Martinez bats cleanup

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — It was likely that one and maybe both Martinezes would be absent from the Tigers lineup Thursday.

Victor Martinez has been struggling mightily against right-handed pitchers in recent games and righty Mike Pelfrey is on the mound for the Twins.

J.D. Martinez felt stiffness in his back Wednesday night and was removed from the game.

Turns out, the Tigers will settle for one out of two.

Victor Martinez is not in the lineup; J.D. Martinez is. He will take Victor's spot both as the designated hitter and the cleanup hitter in the lineup.

"We have the National League series coming up (in St. Louis) and Victor won't be playing much in those three games," said Ausmus, who will use Victor Martinez as a pinch-hitter only this weekend. "So, having a fourth day off certainly wouldn't hurt."

J.D. Martinez said he felt his back stiffen when we ran out to his position in right field in the second inning Wednesday. He missed some time in spring training with the same ailment. Ausmus said he used him as the designated hitter just to get him off his feet for a game.

"You don't want anyone to get injured," Ausmus said. "There were a couple of situations last night when we certainly would have liked his bat in the lineup. But injuries happen."

Ausmus said Victor Martinez would be available to pinch hit Thursday if needed.

Initially, Ausmus had Andrew Romine in the lineup replacing Jose Iglesias at shortstop. That was a mix-up.

"I had a couple of different lineups working based on whether J.D. couple play or not," Ausmus said. "There was a situation where if J.D. didn't play, we would DH (Ian) Kinsler and Romine would have played second."

Ausmus quickly amended the lineup, putting Iglesias back at short and in the ninth spot.

Bryan Holaday will get his first start of the season behind the plate, as well.

Around the horn

Ausmus said Justin Verlander was scheduled to throw a 35-pitch bullpen in St. Louis Friday. Bruce Rondon is also supposed to threw a bullpen, but he is not traveling to St. Louis with the team. Ausmus wasn't sure where Rondon would throw his bullpen, and neither was Rondon.

…Joba Chamberlain showed up at the ballpark a little lighter Thursday — like four runs lighter. MLB reviewed a scoring play that occurred during Chamberlain's eight-inning collapse against the White Sox May 6. All four of the runs that were scored that inning are now unearned. Nick Castellanos has now been charged with an error on a two-out liner that he could not handle off the bat of Adam Eaton. It was originally scored a hit.

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky