May 31, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Houston Astros left fielder J.D. Martinez (14) runs to home to score a run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Toledo Mud Hens broke the news on Twitter today that outfielder J.D. Martinez had been called up to the Detroit Tigers.
Note: Trevor Crowe’s activation is from the Minor League DL to the Mud Hens.
Martinez was released by the Houston Astros this past spring and signed a minor league contract with the Tigers who assigned him to AAA. But AAA could not contain him, apparently. In 17 games (71 PA), Martinez had already blasted 10 home runs (!) en route to a .308/.366/.846 slash line.
Martinez, who has 975 MLB plate appearances under his belt as a member of the Astros, has shown some pop at the big league level, but nothing close to this. And if you want to look for a downside in his to-date stats at AAA, there’s the 24% strikeout rate that he’s put up as well.
With Rajai Davis playing well, Martinez (being a right-handed hitter) isn’t coming up to get a lot of playing time — it’s not even clear if there’s one type of matchup in which you’d want him to start — but he’s a bat on the bench that might be able to run into one every now and then. He’s not likely a better defender than Don Kelly or even Davis, and he’s not necessarily a better option to start vs. right-handed pitchers than either of those two, so we’re seemingly looking at pinch-hitting duties only for now.
The Tigers haven’t yet announced a corresponding move to get back down to 25 men, but they played this last series with the Angels with an extra man in the bullpen, so it’s probably a pitcher that will be optioned to Toledo. They also need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, but that one could be solved with a paperwork move:
I think this is really just the completion of the Collins move from last week: The Tigers wanted to get regular playing time for him (and that wasn’t happening in Detroit), so they sent him down and are now bringing up a guy who they don’t care if he goes several days at a time without seeing the field.
Update: Luke Putkonen is heading to the 15-day DL.