It was always a long shot, though at times it seemed almost likely that DH Victor Martinez could re-join the Detroit Tigers this season. Today, according to Matthew B. Mowrey of the Oakland Press, the Tigers all but closed the door on the possibility of VMart playing at all this season. Tigers trainer Kevin Rand says Martinez “just ran out of time” in trying to comeback from a major knee injury and will back off for now.
More Rand, via Mowrey’s twitter:
“Basically, Victor’s worked extremely hard, obviously, to give himself a shot to play this year. Unfortunately, the leg strength wasn’t to a degree that we feel comfortable that the risk is worth the return. … And he was disappointed, because he really busted his ass, and has really worked hard, but he also realizes, you know what, the risk isn’t worth it at this point. I need to know that I’m strong enough to go forward. And at this point in time, it isn’t there.”
Martinez, who drove in better than 100 runs for the Tigers in 2011 injured his knee while training for the 2012 season in December. It was the news that VMart had suffered a torn ACL and would miss the season that prompted Tigers owner Mike Ilitch to pursue and sign first baseman Prince Fielder. The damage to Martinez’s knee was so severe that doctors opted to perform microfracture surgey first, then re-examine the knee once the recovery from that surgery had begun. To the delight of optimistic Tigers fans, in was discovered that VMart could avoid surgery to repair the ACL. Still, microfracture surgery is something that normally takes close to a full year to return from and Martinez was trying to do it in eight months. As Rand said, he just ran out of time.
This news isn’t exactly surprising to those who have been paying attention to VMart’s progress. By putting this issue to bed now, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski still has a couple more weeks to try to land a hitter through the waiver trade process. Of course, waiver trades can be made through the end of the season, but in order to be eligible for the post season roster, a player must be a part of your organization before September 1.
A dream scenario would have had Martinez return to action by September and fill the gaping hole at DH that the Tigers have suffered with. Detroit may have enough offense without an upgrade over the likes of Delmon Young or Brennan Boesch, especially now that manager Jim Leyland seems finally open to the idea of dropping them in the order a bit, but things would go much smoother if they could land a professional hitter to bat behind Fielder in the lineup.
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