General manager Al Avila said Friday that he expects to make an announcement regarding the immediate future of designated hitter Victor Martinez soon.
Martinez is on the disabled list with an irregular heartbeat. It’s the second time this season he has been shut down with that condition. He has been taking medication to keep the heart in rhythm.
“I don’t know if he will be back for the remainder of the season or not,” Avila said. “We will make an announcement soon, as soon as we know everything. Right now, it’s too early to say. We just have to wait and see what the doctors say and then make a decision based on that.”
Avila said the decision would be made regarding this season only. Martinez has one year and $18 million left on his contract.
The skipper's future
Brad Ausmus is in a tough spot. The club is going into a rebuilding phase and he has no contractual guarantee beyond this season. Both he and Avila have repeatedly said the discussion about Ausmus’ future would happen after the season.
“I have not talked to Brad, but at some point when things quiet down, I am sure we will get together and discuss it,” Avila said. “I watch every game and I evaluate everything from A to Z. Nothing specific.”
Avila was asked if he would consider bringing Ausmus back even with the organization’s change in direction?
“I can’t say it’s out of the realm of possibility,” Avila said. “We could. But we haven’t talked about it at all. We will sit down (when the season is over) and see where it goes.”
In his last stint with the Tigers in July, left-hander Blaine Hardy walked five hitters in two innings. He was told, essentially, to go back down to Toledo and learn how to throw strikes.
Except, throwing strikes had never before been a major issue for him. He walked five in 11 innings from May 3-June 6, and that was unusual.
It turns out, he was pitching dizzy.
“It felt like I had a slight case of vertigo,” Hardy explained. “It was one of those weird things where occasionally my head would start spinning.”
No wonder he couldn’t repeat his delivery. It wasn’t actually vertigo, but more of a sinus condition. He was put on some high-powered medication and after a week, the dizziness was gone.
“It was more so that I was more focused on why I was feeling like that while I was trying to pitch,” he said. “I think it might’ve been sinus related because after I took that heavy-hitting medication for a week, it’s been gone.”
In his last 14 innings at Toledo, he allowed three runs with 17 strikeouts and just two walks.
Around the horn
Besides Hardy, the Tigers also purchased the contract of catcher Bryan Holaday and first baseman Efren Navarro, and called up left-hander Jairo Labourt. Holaday and Navarro take the spots on the 40-man roster vacated by Justin Verlander and Justin Upton.
…Ausmus said Navarro, who has four years of big-league service time and last played in 2015, was called up partly as protection for when Miguel Cabrera serves his suspension for his role in the brawl with the Yankees. He is appealing the seven-game suspension.
…Ausmus also said it’s possible that left-hander Daniel Norris could finish the season working out of the bullpen. He had another rough rehab start for Toledo Thursday, lasting only two innings.
“It would make sense,” Norris said, sarcastically of the move. “I’m not going more than two innings as a starter right now anyway.”