By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – The lineup card printed up for use in the press box needed a little alteration Monday night. After originally slotting veteran designated hitter Victor Martinez in fourth spot as usual, Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus decided to hold Martinez out.
“He’s got a little bit of soreness kind of on his back, side area,” Ausmus explained. “He didn’t want to come out. He took BP and he looked okay, but I didn’t want to risk losing Vic for any extended period of time, so J.D. [Martinez]’s going to hit right in Victor’s spot and DH.
“Today was the first time I heard about it,” Ausmus added. “He said he felt it a little bit yesterday and he felt it again today, so I just decided it’d be better to take him out. Like I said, he didn’t want to come out, [but] we can’t lose Victor for an extended period.”
The 35-year-old Martinez is hitting .323 with 20 home runs this season. The 26-year-old Martinez is hitting .317 with nine home runs.
The elder Martinez started last season slowly after missing all of the 2012 season recovering from a torn ACL, but he turned it on in the second half and has been one of the hottest hitters in the major leagues ever since.
Ausmus is correct about the importance of the Tigers keeping Martinez healthy — aside from his own merits, Martinez fills a vital role in protecting two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera.