Saturday, August 24, 2013
V-Mart behind the plate
By Doug Mittler
Having Victor Martinez put on the tools of ignorance Friday could prove to be a very shrewd move for the Detroit Tigers.
Normally the Tigers' designated hitter, Martinez made his first start behind plate since August 2011 in a victory over the New York Mets. Manager Jim Leyland wanted to keep Martinez's bat in the lineup in the National League ballpark, but it also give the Tigers some additional flexibility down the stretch, writes James Schmehl of MLive.com.
Martinez looked comfortable working with Doug Fister and Schmehl says V-Mart left such a strong impression that Leyland plans to give him another start at catcher on Sunday with Rick Porcello on the mound.
If the Tigers race for the AL Central goes down to the wire, they will feel more comfortable using Martinez behind the plate in a season-ending three-game series in Miami, when no DH will be used.
There also is uncertainty regarding Alex Avila, who's been on the disabled list since Aug. 11 with delayed concussive symptoms. He had to leave Thursday’s game with Triple-A Toledo after experiencing a headache, giving the Tigers an added incentive to try Martinez behind the plate.