V-Mart feeling fine as Spring Training approaches

For all the rejoice over Justin Upton’s arrival, the key to the Tigers offense arguably remains a healthy Victor Martinez, whose knee issues last year led to a decline at the plate that helped doom Detroit. For now, at least, Martinez says he feels fine.

“This year is different,” Martinez said. “I thank God for feeling pretty good. It feels good to come here and see everybody.”

Martinez was healthy at this point last year. He tore the medial meniscus in his left knee while working out at his Orlando area home shortly after TigerFest. He recovered from surgery in time to take his spot in the Opening Day lineup, but looked like a shell of his 2014 form, eventually spending time on the 15-day disabled list to strengthen his knee.

Martinez batted .245 with a .667 OPS last year, both career lows. The knee hampered the switch-hitter more when he batted left-handed, evidenced by his .219 average and .616 OPS against right-handed pitching. By contrast, he hit .348 with an .870 OPS off lefties.

“You know what, it was frustrating, but it’s over,” Martinez said. “It’s 2016. Let’s talk about 2016. Last year is over. That’s it.”

With the Tigers potentially starting right-handed hitters in the other eight spots in their lineup, Martinez’s left-handed swing gains further importance. Though Upton provides another option for the middle of the order, Martinez is likely to remain in the cleanup spot or around it to help break up the right-handed bats and give opposing managers something to think about when warming up right-handed relievers.

“I think at times, the toughest pitchers for right-handed lineups are the hard-throwing right-handers with sliders,” Ausmus said. “That’s going to be the toughest pitchers, I think, for our lineup. That being said, some of our guys’ splits aren’t that bad. Miggy hits lefties better than righties, but Miggy hits righties better than most righties. I’m not concerned about it.”

11 Comments

Tigers really need V-Mart to stay healthy . If he is able to do so it the chances of a post season run really go up,

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I have commented several times in the past that I don’t think handedness is very important to the Tigers. This is new era group of hitters. It is not the JL bunch. I’m glad the present Tigers are outspoken in this regard. It feels like vindication..

At Upton’s introductory press conference reported by McCosky of the News, after Avila was asked if he was concerned about such a heavy right-handed hitting lineup.Upton said, “I’ll take this one…I don’t think Miguel Cabrera has any problem hitting right-handed pitching.” Upton last season hit .266 against right-handers, with a .848 OPS and 23 of his 26 HRs. His production against lefties-191,.588, 3 HRs. Avila noted, Where is the left-handed version of Justin Upton? That’s what you don’t understand. I’d rather have a good right-handed hitter hitting against a right-handed pitcher than a not-so-good left-handed hitter against a right-hand pitcher every time…We believe in this lineup.”

A couple of other things I feel great about, since my positions were frequently attacked, include the Tigers going after an impact bat as well as disregarding the budget and luxury tax issues.The Tigers did the right thing by going all-in while their window-of-opportunity remains open.The owner stood by his word, and given his immense wealth, he could afford to do so.This is a big win for the organization and for the fans.

Get JD signed.

I’d rather not get flamed for saying so (and I like VMart a lot–great player and team-mate) but his was not a good contract for the team and I felt so at the time.
That being said, I hope he has an outstanding year. We need people behind him that can reach the wall.

It looks like this club has the roster to do well. Lets hope they can do it .

If Martinez just fades out, then it was a bad deal. But if he can give the Tigers 80 percent of his 2014 performance for a few years, I’ll take it. But the deal was based on more than cost performance. VMart is a great presence on the team and a leader, and I think Mr. I really wanted to pay respect to that…

Who would you rather have, Upton or Cespedes? Rumor has it he signs with the Mets for 3 years at 75 million.

I would rather have Upton.

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