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Detroit — The Tigers knew about it before the rest of us did. Their former teammate Leonys Martin was fighting for his life in a Cleveland hospital, but out of respect for his family, they kept it to themselves.

“It really just puts life in perspective,” James McCann said Monday night after the news was released that Martin was battling a bacterial infection that attacked his internal organs. “It makes the struggles you're having on the field or whatever it may be — it puts it in perspective.

“It just goes to show what kind of impact he did have here by how much it affected the guys in the clubhouse.”

Martin was traded to the Indians on July 31 for Double-A shortstop prospect Willi Castro. He fell ill last Tuesday night and his condition worsened and became critical at one point. He is being treated at the Cleveland Clinic and on Monday, he began showing signs of improvement.

More: Home, family pulled Gerald Laird from Tigers minor-league managerial job

“Leonys had a bacterial infection that entered his blood stream and when it entered his blood stream it produced toxins," Indians president Chris Antonetti told reporters Monday. “Those toxins did damage to his internal organs and the functioning of those organs was compromised, and it was severe.

"Thankfully, he's made a lot of progress in the last 24 to 36 hours and he's regained a lot of the organ function. And so, we're optimistic and he's on a good path right now and we're hopeful that he'll have a full recovery.”

The relief in the Tigers’ clubhouse when that news hit was palpable.

“We knew what was going on and we knew how serious this whole thing was," manager Ron Gardenhire said. “To get the good news is fantastic, because we had heard this could be, well, not good at all.

“A lot of thoughts and prayers are with him from this clubhouse, I can tell you that. He means a lot to us and I'm sure to Cleveland, also. This is good news for all of us."

Martin, an extremely popular teammate in Detroit and a ready comic foil for Gardenhire, made a quick impact with the Indians, too. He was hitting.333 with two home runs before the illness.

“Extremely shocking,” said Nick Castellanos. “He hit a home run on back-to-back days and then like three days later, he's laid up. I guess that should just be a reminder to everybody to just enjoy today, man, because you're really not promised forever."

chris.mccosky@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/cmccosky

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