Tigers' J.D. Martinez letting hot bat do the talking
Detroit — You don’t mess with a hot streak. And for the love of baseball, you don’t talk about it.
J.D. Martinez is cooking right now and, predictably, he’s been maintaining radio silence — at least pregame.
Martinez, normally one of the more affable and accessible players in the Tigers’ clubhouse, has been conspicuously unavailable before games recently.
But his numbers are screaming.
He took a 10-game hitting streak into play Saturday, hitting .450 with seven runs, two doubles, four home runs and seven RBIs.
He’s hit safely in 27 of his last 30, going back to before he broke his elbow and spent seven weeks on the disabled list. In those 30 games, he’s hitting .440 with 18 runs, 14 doubles, six homers and 18 RBIs.
Remarkably, he was hot before the injury and has come back even hotter. With no re-adjustment period.
“I don’t think you can necessarily explain those things,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “Maybe it means spring training is too long (laughter). I couldn’t give you an explanation, other than he’s immediately found his groove.”
In 16 games since coming off the DL, Martinez’s slash line is gaudy — .433/.485/.767 (average, on-base and slugging percentage), with a 1.252 OPS. Not too shabby.
The Salty-Boyd duo
Ausmus was asked before the game how Jarrod Saltalamacchia has become the personal catcher of left-hander Matt Boyd.
“Originally, it was just because Salty caught Boyd (in his first couple of starts) and Boyd threw the ball well,” he said. “Really, we just stuck with it as a result. Boyd probably trusts Salty and Salty has a good understanding, because of his experience, how to work through a game.”
The veteran catcher-young pitcher dynamic has worked well for Boyd, and the opposite has worked for James McCann.
In his second year, McCann has recently been the primary catcher for veterans Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez.
Around the horn
Cameron Maybin was scheduled to take batting practice in the cage for the first time since spraining his left thumb. If all goes well, he could be one of the hitters in Jordan Zimmermann’s simulated game Sunday morning.
… Third baseman Nick Castellanos had X-rays on his fractured left hand on Friday. “It showed healing,” Ausmus said. “It’s just about what he can tolerate (in terms of pain). But there is no long-term projection.” There is also no immediate increase in his activities.
… J.D. Martinez hit his 17th home run of the season on Friday night, a laser shot into the seats in right field. It was his 28th opposite-field home run in the last three years. According to ESPN Stats and Information, that is five more than any other player in baseball.