By: Will Burchfield
J.D. Martinez will begin the season in an all-too-familiar place.
The Tigers placed their starting right fielder on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to March 30, the team announced on Friday. Martinez sprained the Linsfranc ligament in his right foot while sliding to catch a ball in the outfield toward the end of spring training.
Martinez’s D.L. assignment leaves open the possibility of an early-to-mid April return, but it’s more likely he’ll be out for most of the first month. He still has a cast on his right foot and can’t do any physical activity until it comes off.
He is scheduled to have the cast removed on Monday.
“If I get out of the boot and it feels good, I’ll be good to go (start rehabbing),” Martinez told reporters on Tuesday. “If I get out of the boot and it hurts, then I fly up to see Dr. (Robert) Anderson.”
Dr. Anderson initially forecast a recovery time of three to four weeks for Martinez.
“It’s tricky, that’s what the doc said. It’s a tricky injury and there’s no set table. So to say three-to-four weeks, that’s what I am hoping for. But it’s one of those things you have to monitor week to week,” Martinez said.
The Tigers could employ a platoon of Mikie Mahtook and Tyler Collins in right field until Martinez returns, with Mahtook playing against left-handed pitchers and Collins against right-handers.
After releasing Mike Pelfrey on Thursday and later placing Steven Moya and Daniel Stumpf on waivers, the Tigers appear to have their opening day roster set.
The loss of Martinez to begin the season is a big blow for the Tigers, who were counting on good health to compete for a playoff spot in the A.L. Central. Martinez spent about a month and a half on the D.L. last season with a broken elbow.
In other news, the Tigers brought back Bryan Holaday, who spent four seasons as the team’s backup catcher from 2012 to 2015.
Holaday, who hit .209 in limited MLB action last season, will report to Triple-A Toledo.