By: Will Burchfield
When Victor Martinez was lifted from Thursday night’s game for pinch-runner Dixon Machado in the bottom of the seventh, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal.
Maybe he tweaked something jogging to first. Maybe Brad Ausmus wanted to a better set of wheels on the base paths.
Turns out, it was a near crisis.
Martinez, 38, was suffering from dizziness, cold sweats and an elevated heart rate, and was hospitalized for the night.
As Ausmus told MLB Network Radio on Friday, it was “more scary than a general baseball injury.” Martinez may have to stay in the hospital for further observation tonight.
Ausmus downplayed V-Mart’s condition after the game.
“He just wasn’t feeling well. In the middle of the game he started getting cold sweats and dizzy and his heart started racing. It got to the point there that he felt like he couldn’t go any longer. So that was the reason (we took him out). It wasn’t his legs or anything like that,” Ausmus said.
It’s unclear what prompted Martinez’s sudden illness. He has not dealt with heart issues in the past.
“They don’t think it’s anything major,” Ausmus said on Friday night. “The doctor saw him, there’s not a high level of concern with it. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
Martinez was 2-4 with an RBI on Friday night before being removed from the game. He’s batting .261 with five home runs and 29 RBI on the season.
Earlier in the day, Ausmus said the Tigers have considered removing Martinez from the cleanup spot.
If Martinez can’t go tonight – and it certainly looks that way right now – Ausmus will likely call on a left-handed bat to take his spot in the lineup against Rays right-handed starter Erasmo Ramirez. Candidates include Andrew Romine, Alex Presley and Alex Avila.