By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers announced that they have signed 26-year-old outfielder J.D. Martinez to a minor league contract. Martinez played the last three seasons with the Houston Astros and spent most of his time there in left field.
Martinez hit .274 in 53 games for the Astros in 2011, recorded a .241 average in 113 games in 2012, and hit .250 in 86 games in 2013.
The Tigers did not bring back left fielder Matt Tuiasosopo this offseason, instead signing Rajai Davis to platoon with Andy Dirks. Dirks underwent back surgery, however, and is expected to miss at least the first eight weeks of the season. Presumably, Martinez (and utility man Don Kelly) will help fill that void.
Dirks was the first domino to fall for the Tigers in an injury-plagued offseason. Detroit has since lost starting shortstop Jose Iglesias for four to six months to stress fractures in both shins, and expected setup man Bruce Rondon will miss the whole season because he needs Tommy John surgery.