VIERA, Fla. (AP) – Victor Martinez took his first home run for the Tigers in stride.
Martinez hit a two-run shot and Magglio Ordonez added two hits, leading Detroit past the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Monday.
It was the first homer of the spring for Martinez, who signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Tigers in the offseason.
“You don’t come to spring training to put up big numbers,” he said. “I just try to come here and get comfortable at the plate before the season starts. It’s nice when you get a hit, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t really worry about homers. I really worry about putting the barrel on the ball.”
Martinez’s drive off reliever Todd Coffey in the sixth inning might have had a little help from the wind blowing out to right field.
While the catcher’s ability to drive in runs was the main reason the Tigers signed him, there is no question Martinez’s experience behind the plate is also paying off with a young pitching staff.
Detroit starter Rick Porcello bounced back from his only shaky outing of the spring, allowing one run and five hits while striking out three in 4 2-3 innings. He has already developed a bond with his new catcher.
“We’re still trying to get used to each other, but I really like him behind the plate,” Porcello said. “He’s extremely positive, which for me, as a pitcher, I like a lot. Obviously, he’s been around for a number of years, so he’s got a feel for what pitches to throw.
“The biggest thing is there’s a guy back there that I trust. When he puts down a pitch, I’ve got confidence that’s what I’m going to go with. He knows the league pretty well.”
While the Detroit pitching staff was holding down the Nationals’ offense, another big piece of the Tigers’ offense had a big day. Ordonez hit a double and Brennan Boesch drove in his fifth run of the spring.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)