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J.D. Martinez, trainer optimistic about recovery

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Kansas City — It was a rough, rough night for Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez.

He cracked a small bone in his right elbow trying to brace himself before crashing into the wall in the right-field corner Thursday. Then he was told he’d be out four to six weeks — shut down just as he was starting to really heat up.

“Depressing,” he said before Friday’s game against the Kansas City Royals. “I’m bummed. I feel like I’ve kind of found my timing and my rhythm and my swing and now it’s kind of meaningless.”

It actually could have been a lot worse.

“Of all the injuries he could have had running into that wall, that was probably the best one,” Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said. “You get into the wrist and things like that, then it starts to affect the swing.”

Rand said it was a small crack and it was non-displaced, which means it will heal quicker with no re-setting.

“It’s going to heal fine,” Rand said. “You won’t see any casting or anything like that. What he needs to do, really, is to some degree move around and be active as the soreness allows. It’s just a matter of time.”

That was at least mildly encouraging to Martinez.

“They don’t want to put a cast on it,” he said. “They want to keep it moving so I don’t have the stiffness a cast would get it. Then it would take longer and you have to worry about all the strengthening.”

Martinez was sizzling. He’d raised his average 42 points, hitting .468 with a 1.229 OPS with eight doubles and 10 RBIs since June 2.

“I feel like I get hot and every one of these guys — Victor (Martinez), Iggy (Jose Iglesias), J-Up (Justin Upton), these guys get hot and can carry the team. I was feeling like I was on the verge of doing it right there. So it just (stinks) because now you have to start over again.”

Steven Moya was called up from Toledo to replace him. Nick Castellanos and Upton were moved up to the No. 5 and No. 6 spots in the batting order. Moya slotted in at No. 7.

“The good thing is, we have a team full of hitters, we have a team full of bangers, so if we had to lose one part of our game, I’d say this would be it,” J.D. Martinez said. “But unfortunately it happened to me. It’s better than losing a pitcher or a starter or something we need — it’s better than that, so ... .”

He was asked how he was going to get through these next four to six weeks.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll probably go crazy.”

He said he’s already thought of about “nine million” things to do in order to stay somewhat sharp.

“Once we get this pain down, I definitely want to go down to the bullpen, stay tracking pitches and use my time wisely,” he said. “It could be a blessing in disguise. Everyone’s going to be getting tired at the end of July and August and I’m going to have this four to six weeks to relax.”

A fresh and healthy J.D. Martinez for the stretch drive? That’s something the Tigers can look forward to.

Twitter: @cmccosky