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J.D. Martinez out 4-6 weeks; Tigers call up Moya

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
J.D. Martinez, after running into the wall in the second inning, is checked out by trainer Kevin Rand.

Kansas City, Mo. — Justin Verlander didn’t even blink.

“We’ll be OK,” he said, when asked to react to the news that right-fielder and one of the team’s top run producers J.D. Martinez will be lost for four to six weeks with a broken bone in his right elbow.

“Obviously it hurts,” Verlander continued. “J.D. is somebody we look to, to drive in runs and be one of the middle-of-the-lineup guys. … He will be missed. But you can’t dwell on it. Injuries are part of the game.

“If you allow yourself to go, ‘Woe is me,’ or, ‘Oh, no, we’re not going to win now that J.D. is out,’ that’s not the way it works. We have to find a way to win.”

Martinez, who has been on an offensive tear of late, ran hard into the wall in the right-field corner chasing a slicing liner by the Royals’ Paulo Orlando in the second inning. It appeared he suffered the injury trying to brace himself for the collision.

“I thought he dislocated his shoulder because of the way he was holding his arm,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I was surprised it was his elbow. But he knew. He said he felt a pop.”

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He left the game immediately. X-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture of the radial neck (small bone) at the elbow. The Tigers have scheduled a CT scan tomorrow to further confirm the diagnosis.

But the Tigers aren’t waiting for those results. Ausmus announced after the game — a 10-4 win over the Royals — Martinez was being placed on the disabled list and right-fielder Steven Moya would be recalled from Toledo before Friday’s game.

“When you lose a guy who hit close to 40 home runs and knocked in over 100, it stings,” Ausmus said. “But Steven Moya is going to get an opportunity to play. If he can swing the bat similar to how he’s been swinging it down at Toledo, we might not miss a beat.”

Moya was hitting just under .302 with 13 home runs, 13 doubles and 38 RBIs. His OPS is .909. He hit .281 in nine games for the Tigers earlier this season.

“It was not hard decision,” Ausmus said of bringing up Moya. “He’s been doing the best down there. We’re looking for an outfielder and his natural position is right field. He’s been swinging the bat well down there the entire season.

“It’s an opportunity. He’s going to get some at-bats. Hopefully he takes advantage of it.”

The Tigers, already without centerfielder Cameron Maybin, who is day to day with left quad tightness, finished the game with three healthy outfielders — Justin Upton in left, Andrew Romine in center and Mike Aviles in right.

They’ve been carrying an extra pitcher on the roster for several weeks, but when asked if there was discussion about bringing up an additional position player, Ausmus said, “Not tonight.”

Martinez has been one of the hottest Tigers hitters. He’d hit safely in seven games and had multiple hits in nine of his last 13. He was hitting .451 over that stretch.

“Guys get hurt,” Ian Kinsler said. “It’s part of the season. It’s always bad timing. But honestly, he’s going to recover from this and he’s going to be able to come back and help us. There is something to be said for that.

“Obviously it hurts losing J.D. for four weeks. He was getting hot and really swinging the good bat. But guys over five months in this game get hurt, and the guy replacing him has to step up and play and you move forward.”

Steven Moya’s time is now.

Twitter: @cmccosky