Tigers’ Victor Martinez gives the glove a workout
Detroit — As Victor Martinez took grounders during warmups before Monday’s game against the Mariners, something seemed awry.
The designated hitter, Martinez hasn’t played in the field this season, still trying to get back to full strength after a knee injury sent him to the disabled list and forced him to miss a month.
What was more puzzling was Martinez was taking grounders at shortstop, not first base. But manager Brad Ausmus said Martinez isn’t close to being a defensive option for the Tigers, who are without Miguel Cabrera until at least mid-August.
“I talked to Victor about first base; he’s taken some ground balls at first as well,” Ausmus said. “Right now, it’s a little too risky. Game speed is different. You have to cut left then cut back right and there’s a runner involved and a base involved.
“I would hate to lose Victor, especially because we don’t have Miggy.”
Since returning from the disabled list June 19, Martinez is hitting .330, with nine doubles, five home runs and 17 RBIs.
While Cabrera has been out, the Tigers have used Alex Avila at first, along with Andrew Romine, called up Jefry Marte from Triple A Toledo and acquired Marc Krauss from the Rays.
Martinez played first in 35 games last season.
“Right now, I would say you’re not going to see him at first any time soon,” Ausmus said. “But I guess that could change if we become a lot more confident in his knee.”
A day after having a batted ball ricochet and hit him in the face, third baseman Nick Castellanos was back in the starting lineup Monday.
Orioles slugger Adam Jones hit a sharp grounder to Castellanos in the fifth inning Sunday, and the ball took a wicked hop. Castellanos tried to block the ball with his right hand and deflected it into his left eye. He eventually left the game.
Castellanos said trainers looked at him, but he didn’t undergo any official concussion testing. When he arrived at Comerica Park on Monday, he went through a light workout to see whether he would miss any time.
“I started experiencing little headaches throughout the day and that could show signs of a concussion,” he said. “I came in, I rode the bike and took some swings. There’s no dizziness or headaches or anything, so that’s a good sign.”
Castellanos also had X-rays on his right (throwing) ring finger to ensure there wasn’t any damage after the ball glanced off of it. Even after the X-rays were negative, he was concerned the finger would give him more problems.
“The biggest thing for me was I knew my finger was going to be OK because it felt better (Monday) morning,” he said. “I didn’t know if as soon as I started sweating if I was going to get an immediate headache and that’s not good.”
But after taking grounders and batting practice before Monday’s game, he was fine.
“The big concern when he left the game was whether the eye would swell too much to play. It looks worse I think that it is,” Ausmus said.
Castellanos said he couldn’t remember a more unusual hop, but some of that could be the dirt.
“It’s the first time I was hit in the face, so it’s probably the worst hop I’ve had,” Castellanos said. “I guess our infield during day games is kind of hard.”