Ausmus hopeful V-Mart will be ready to DH by Saturday

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez will sit until at least Saturday with a mild hamstring strain.

Lakeland, Fla. — Some early morning news items from Tigers camp.

• Victor Martinez was at the facility long before sunrise Tuesday and spent the morning getting treatment on his left hamstring.

“He was a little sore,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “But nothing major. He’s going to be out for a few days.”

Martinez strained his hamstring after singling and rounding first base hard in the fifth inning Monday. Ausmus said the medical staff didn’t think it was necessary to take any tests on it. But the injury will push back plans to give him some reps at first base.

“I don’t know if he’ll play first base Saturday (in Jupiter, Fla.),” Ausmus said. “In fact, I doubt he will play first base there.”

Martinez could DH as early as Saturday, though, barring any setback.

• Although nothing is set in stone, the battle for the fifth rotation spot seems down to two contestants — Daniel Norris and Shane Greene. Both pitched Monday. Greene pitched the final four innings in a 9-2 win over the Mets and he was dominant against a lineup of mostly minor league players.

With a hard, sinking fastball and a cutter that was registering at 92 mph, he struck out five.

Tigers: Victor Martinez has mild hamstring strain

“I threw that cutter a lot last year,” he said. “Honestly, I threw it more than I threw my slider. It’s a little harder than it was last year, so that’s making it sharper.”

In his previous start, Greene gave up several hits after having hitters in two-strike holes. He came into Monday’s outing bent on correcting that.

“I had a game plan,” he said. “I wanted to use my slider and cutter off of each other a little more, which I did. And when I got two strikes I wanted to step on their throat. That previous outing I got two strikes on a lot of guys and got fancy and gave up some hits.”

Issue resolved. In 8⅔ innings this spring, Greene has struck out 10 and walked one.

Norris’ next start will be Saturday against the Cardinals in Jupiter. Greene will start a split-squad game Sunday against the Braves at Disney.

Even if Greene doesn’t win the rotation battle, he could still make the club as a reliever.

• It’s not at that point yet, but within the next two weeks the Tigers may have to make a decision regarding right-handed reliever Alex Wilson, who continues to work his way through rotator cuff fatigue.

He will throw from 120 feet tomorrow and if all goes well, he would throw off the mound in a bullpen session on Sunday. He would still need to face live hitters (presumably minor league hitters) before getting into a spring game.

The question, especially if he has another setback, will be whether there is enough time to get his arm strength built before Opening Day? He may need to start the season on the disabled list.

“It’s too soon to say,” Ausmus said. “Relievers don’t need that many innings to get ready. But if we have to start him on the DL, we’ll deal with it. But right now there is no plan to do that.”

• Right-hander Jeff Ferrell did not feel comfortable Monday throwing lightly from 60 feet. It was the first time he picked up a ball since being diagnosed with a shoulder impingement.

His throwing program has once again been suspended.

“He’ll just do more treatment,” Ausmus said. “(Pitching coach Rich) Dubee is working on something with him mechanically to alleviate the stress on the area where he’s getting the pain.”

He’s been feeling the pinching on his rotator cuff since before last season. He was able to pitch through it and have a productive year — getting to the Tigers for nine games. The

Tigers hoped he’d be a back-end reliever at Triple A Toledo this year but he hasn’t been able to throw.

• Right-handed starter Anibal Sanchez (triceps inflammation) will have to clear one more test before starting a spring game. He will face minor league hitters in a simulated game Wednesday. If all goes well, he could make his spring debut next week.