Results tagged ‘ Victor Martinez ’
Tigers catcher Victor Martinez left Saturday night’s rain-delayed game against the Giants after taking a pitch off his right shoulder, leading to utilityman Don Kelly’s first career appearance behind the plate.
Martinez left with a bruised right shoulder after being hit by a pitch from Brayan Villarreal, who entered the game in the third inning after a 2-hour, 36-minute rain delay. Martinez finished the inning after head athletic trainer Kevin Rand attended to him, but Kelly came out of the dugout with catching gear on for the top of the fourth inning.
It was the realization of a insurance plan the Tigers had planned back in Spring Training, but under different circumstances. By working Kelly at catcher, the plan went, the Tigers wouldn’t have to forfeit the designated hitter spot on days when Alex Avila caught and Martinez started at DH.
In Saturday’s case, though, Martinez wasn’t the DH, and Avila was available off the bench. With the Tigers down, 10-0, though, manager Jim Leyland used the opportunity to get Kelly some game time.
Kelly’s first career appearance at catcher came three days after he pitched in Detroit’s 16-9 loss to the Mets. He has now played every position at some point in his Major League career.
Just 55 other players since 1901 have pitched and caught in the same season, according to research on baseball-reference.com. The most recent was Kevin Cash, who did it with the Astros last season.
Add in Kelly’s other appearances this year in all three outfield spots, plus first and third base, and he’s just the eighth player in that time frame to play all those spots in one year. Former Tiger Shane Halter and then-Ranger Scott Sheldon both did it in 2000, doing so while playing all nine positions in a game.
The question came up this morning: When Victor Martinez returns from the disabled list this coming week, would he go back to batting fifth? Or would he bat somewhere else in the order.
The answer appears to be fifth.
“If he’s ready, I’ll probably put him right there behind Miguel right away,” Jim Leyland said.
That doesn’t seem to rule out moving him to, say, the third spot down the road. But it seemingly rules out an immediate change.
It’s an interesting conflict. Move Martinez to third, and it gives potentially a hotter hitter in front of Miguel Cabrera, not to mention a different look if the top of the order can get on base for the third guy. But that would remove the veteran run producing bat behind Cabrera, and we all saw what happened with that on Saturday.
With a gorgeous afternoon in Detroit, Victor Martinez hit the field to get in his first real workout since he went on the 15-day disabled list. The results were very encouraging for him to return from his groin strain once he’s eligible to come off the DL next week.
“I’m feeling great, man,” Martinez said. “This is the day that I can say it, because this is the first day I went outside and did something.”
Martinez did agility drills, played catch and hit, all without pain. He was among the many Tigers who came out to the ballpark early.
He’s eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday, May 4, the third day of their four-game series against the Yankees.
Around the same time, Rick Porcello was throwing his final side session before he jumps back into the rotation Saturday. They put him on the mound and threw some hitters at him, and he said the 45-pitch session went well. No radar guns that I could see, so unless you’re going on feel, it’s hard to tell whether Porcello was throwing harder.
Interesting point from Brandon Inge after Wednesday’s win when talking about the Rangers offense cooling off following its fast start over the previous nine games. He gave credit to the pitching staff, and he also gave credit to the ballpark.
To him, there’s a Comerica Park factor going on. And when you consider the home-road disparity that has been going on with this team since at least last year and maybe earlier, it’s worth consideration.
“These guys have been swinging hot bats,” Inge said. “This is where our ballpark plays in our favor a lot. A team like that coming in swinging hot bats, they had three or four balls hit in the last two or three games that probably would’ve been home runs in their ballpark, and that would’ve given them momentum and they would’ve just kept running the bases and putting runs up. But they don’t go out, and those guys now are scratching their heads when they come back in the dugout.
“Our pitchers have more confidence knowing they can go up in the zone and get outs, and you can see where the momentum transfers back over to us. A lot of people complain about this park, but it’s a big park, and both teams have to play in it.”
Ryan Raburn, of course, had the catch to take away a home run. Texas had a double off the right-field wall in the series opener and another that hit the wall on a hop. They had countless others that took Austin Jackson towards the warning track in center field.
The stats suggest this park plays pretty even over the course of a season. But it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest maybe this park plays a little diffferently before it warms up than it does during the summer.
As for both sides playing in it, Inge says he has talked with new Tiger Victor Martinez about the ballpark factor.
“Victor, he has hit a couple balls [that would've been out elsewhere],” Inge said. “But you know what, it’s not really a bad thing if you embrace it. Hopefully he’ll understand that coming into it. I’ve tried to talk to him a few times. I told him there’s a lot of RBIs to be had in these gaps right here. And that’s where we’re going to win ballgames.
“We’re not here for personal stats. No one should be here for personal stats. And if you get runners on base in this ballpark, and if you can swallow your pride and understand that your home run numbers are probably going to come down a little bit but you can get just as many RBIs by those gaps, it’s just a matter of understanding it and letting it happen.”
On a side note, I’ll be off for the next few days before rejoining the team in Seattle. I’ll be watching the Oakland games on TV and might chime in with a post now and then, but it won’t be the daily lineups and routines that I usually have. Please excuse me while I finally unpack some of the last items in the suitcase from the road.
Just finished talking a little bit ago with Victor Martinez, who didn’t want to say much about the inside pitch from Jose Valdez that prompted him to shout at him. But while Martinez didn’t get into what was said, his views on the pitch were pretty clear.
“It was a pitch that I don’t think was with good intention,” Martinez said. “That’s it.”
Valdez apparently said he wasn’t trying to hit anyone. But given this late stage of Spring Training, the last thing any hitter probably wants to see is an inside pitch that could knock them out of opening day. So when that pitch comes after a Miguel Cabrera home run, nerves get a little frazzled.
Victor Martinez was walking around the clubhouse Wednesday, but his stiff neck is going to keep him out of the starting lineup as a precaution. John Murrian, just sent to minor-league camp Tuesday, heads back across the street today to start at catcher.
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Will Rhymes, 2B
- Clete Thomas, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Brennan Boesch, LF
- Brandon Inge, 3B
- Alex Avila, DH
- Ramon Santiago, SS
- John Murrian, C
- Ryan Theriot, SS
- Colby Rasmus, CF
- Albert Pujols, 1B
- David Freese, 3B
- Lance Berkman, DH
- Allen Craig, RF
- Skip Schumaker, 2B
- Yadier Molina, C
- Jon Jay, LF
The Tigers were rumored among the most serious suitors for Jayson Werth, who just signed a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals. But team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said their interest didn’t go very far.
“The majority, and just short of all of that, was strictly paper talk,” Dombrowski said. “We never had any serious conversations on Jayson Werth. Not one. And the reality of it is, when we prioritized our players, we had Victor Martinez up there, that we pursued. And just preliminary conversations, very preliminary, where they talk in generalities, the dollar numbers and years were just not appealing to us.
“That’s why sometimes you move quickly in other directions to do things. For us, it just made more sense to move in the direction that we did.”
Normally, I don’t get into the merchandise end of things, but I know the jersey t-shirts are pretty popular, and it’s the holiday shopping season. And the Tigers did a pretty quick turnaround producing some shirseys for Victor Martinez.
They’ll go on sale Saturday morning as part of the Tigers’ one-day holiday sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Comerica Park main pro shop.
The sale was already scheduled for other items, including leather chairs from the clubhouse, catching gear, game-used bats and jerseys, helmets and more. Hall of Famer Al Kaline is also scheduled to sign copies of his book, Six: A Salute to Al Kaline, for an hour starting at 10:30 a.m.
Last week’s signing of Victor Martinez obviously adds something to the mix, including a new gift idea for the Tigers fan who has most everything. It’s new enough that it’s the first confirmation we’ve had that Martinez will get to keep number 41.
Part of the proceeds from the one-day sale will benefit the Detroit Tigers Foundation. The first 100 shoppers will be treated to a free gift. Free parking is available across the street at Lot 1.
Two days into free agents and their agents talking with other teams, the competition is stacking up for Victor Martinez. The Boston Globe cites a major league source saying that six teams have inquired on Martinez, including the Red Sox.
The Tigers, of course, aren’t commenting on their talks with agents on specific players. But Dave Dombrowski said Monday they’re moving forward in discussions and talking where they see a fit.
“We know what our thought process is,” Dombrowski said in general. “We know where we want to go. We’re moving in that direction. … For us, we’ve started the process, and that means that at times you’re already talking to people at this time.”
Now that the Tigers have re-signed Jhonny Peralta, they can turn their attention to other teams’ free agents as they try to fill their offseason needs. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski’s comments Monday morning suggested they aren’t wasting any time getting to that.
“I think we’ve reached a point where we know what we’re going to do,” Dombrowski said on a conference call with reporters to discuss the Peralta deal, “and it would give me no benefit to tell you exactly what our plan is. We know what our thought process is. We know where we want to go. We’re moving in that direction. … For us, we’ve started the process, and that means that at times you’re already talking to people at this time.”
Judging from those remarks, it’s safe to say that the Tigers are reaching out to agents at this point. That doesn’t mean they’re close on anything, or that any top free agents are going to sign quickly. The deadline for teams to offer arbitration to free agents, and thus put themselves in line for compensation if those players sign elsewhere, isn’t for another 2 1/2 weeks. More than anything, it means the Tigers are reacting to the sped-up timeframe and deadlines of this offseason compared to previous ones, and that the Tigers are trying to be nimble on their feet, as Dombrowski put it last month.
“I do know that [the new deates] will expedite it because it has expedited it for us,” Dombrowski said. “We have already had meetings and are prepared to move forward on some situations.”
The Tigers had the Major League portion of their end-of-season meetings two weeks ago in Detroit. That’s where team officials and scouts go over evaluate the free-agent and potential trade markets and prioritize.
With openings at the DH slot and both corner outfield positions, plus at-bats available for a catcher to at least face left-handed starting pitchers, the Tigers have a lot of roster flexibility for a team in the market for a top offensive free agent. Anyone from catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez to first baseman Adam Dunn and outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth could fit into the Tigers’ plans.
The Tigers have the flexibilty to react and rebound if and when free agents sign elsewhere and get crossed off their list. But first, they need something to react to.