Detroit – It’s not about frustration levels or thinning patience anymore.
Frustration for J.D. Martinez has been a constant companion and his patience has long been worn bare.
“My patience wore thin three weeks ago, since Week One,” Martinez said before the Tigers’ game Saturday night against the Royals.
Medically, Martinez is ahead of schedule. It’s been four weeks and two days since he fractured a bone in his right elbow crashing into the wall in Kansas City. The original timetable was set at four to six weeks.
A CT scan taken Friday showed that the bone was healing properly and he was cleared to do as much baseball activity as the pain would allow. He been throwing, hitting off the tee and off soft toss. But his body is still telling him it's early in the recovery process.
“It will feel good one swing and then the next I will try to swing harder and there’s pain,” Martinez said. “It’s just, still in the process.”
That’s the frustrating part. Just when he thinks he can extend himself and do more, the pain in the elbow reminds him to ease up.
“It’s getting better,” he said. “Feels better every day, so every day I’m able to do a little bit more. How long until it’ll be all gone? I don’t know.
“When I first injured myself, they said four to six weeks, and I’m thinking four weeks, I am going to be ready for the All-Star break. Like, right now. But that’s not how it turned out.”
The initial hope, that he’d be back by the end of the month, is starting to look overly optimistic, even after the doctors told him the bone was healing ahead of schedule.
“Obviously when you say four to six weeks, you think in four to six weeks you’re out there playing again,” Martinez said. “But that’s not what it means. It’s four to six weeks until you’re actually pain-free, and then you’re able to do your normal routine.
“Then, it’s getting back in your baseball form, stuff like that. I’ve been running as much as I could, but you still have to go out there and get your timing back. At the end of the day, I won’t have seen pitching in six weeks – four weeks from Thursday – by the time we start. When you haven’t seen pitching in six weeks, it’s going to be almost like spring training again.”
A more realistic scenario, still optimistic, would be that Martinez could start his rehab assignment by the end of this month and perhaps be ready to rejoin the Tigers by the second week of August.
“I don’t know, man,” he said. “We’re just going to kind of have to keep playing it by ear. Just keep going until things feel better. When they feel good, they feel good, and we’ll go from there.”