Detroit Tigers Victor Martinez Looks Ready to Play
During the 2016 Detroit Tigers season, Victor Martinez looked like every move he made was full of pain.
It turns out that the Detroit Tigers designated hitter was in as much pain as it looked.
He had a hernia that he played through during the last two months of the season.
But now, the DH looks like a new man who is ready to take on the season. According to Chris McCosky with The Detroit News, V-Mart has been lifting weights at his home in Central Florida. This home is not the average space for a wealthy resident of the Sunshine State. Martinez owns a cattle ranch with approximately 600 mooing beasts. Along with the cattle and bulls, Martinez has a brand new weight room.
V-Mart Looks Fit
If you have seen photographs of the DH, it is obvious that he used the weight room during the off-season. Martinez looks like he has bulked up, especially in his arms and chest. Even his jaw looks stronger than last season (compare this Twitter photo to the photo from 2016 at the top of this post).
The report from spring training is that he is ready to go. In McCosky’s article, Martinez said: “Oh sure, 100 percent. I’m ready to go. No rehab, no nothing. Just play baseball. It’s been a while.”
It’s no secret that Martinez has had several injuries over the years. His knees have been the biggest problem, but no one had knew that he was suffering from a hernia. He kept the details to himself, telling McCosky and the media: “I’ve never made any excuses in my career. Never.”
Was Playing Through the Pain Worth It?
There is something admirable about his ability to play through the pain. However, it is fair to ask what could have happened if someone else took on the DH duties near the end of the 2016 season. Of course, his home runs were a joy to watch, but the base running gaffs and the ease of getting him out at first slowed down the team.
ESPN.com’s Sam Miller wrote this off-season about how Martinez is the one of the worst baserunners in baseball. The story can be read in its entirety here. I also wrote about Martinez’s slowness on the base paths.
Miller’s piece focused on how rarely Martinez took the extra base when he actually made it to first. His percentage was the lowest of all MLB players: he took the extra base 7% of the time. Miller also took notice of the times that Martinez was on first when the next batter hit a single to the outfield. Martinez only made it to third once. So, overall, the Tigers lost nearly 10 runs due to Martinez’s lack of speed.
Ten Runs Makes a Difference
What could those ten runs have meant? Here’s a couple of close games that could have turned out differently if Martinez had wheels:
May 11 Tigers vs Nationals: This was Max Scherzer‘s 20-strikeout game. But, in the top of the seventh, Martinez hit a line-drive single to center field. Then, Upton hit a double. Martinez did make it third on this double, but if he were faster he might have made it home. This could have changed the outcome of the game as the Tigers lost by one run.
More from Detroit Tigers News
- Detroit Tigers: Garrett Hill’s new role and changed delivery are excellent
- Detroit Tigers: Joe Jiménez has rebounded in 2022
- Detroit Tigers: Is it finally time to move the fences in at Comerica Park?
- Detroit Tigers: Riley Greene continues to impress with his performance
- Detroit Tigers: Outlook on Jace Jung is a little concerning
July 23 Tigers vs. White Sox: Martinez was on base twice. The first time, he was out on a double play. The second time, he made it from first to second on a line drive to right field from Nick Castellanos. Had he made it to third, he would have scored on a fly to left field from Justin Upton. But, no. He didn’t make it home. Had he made it home, the Tigers would have won.
Taking Care of V-Mart
Martinez has two season left with the Tigers. He will be a free agent in 2019 – if his body will make it that far. Lifting weights will certainly help, but so will other exercises like stretching via Pilates and/or yoga.
It’s difficult to say that Martinez is one of the most competitive Tigers on the team, because the whole team is loaded with competitive players. But, the fact that he played through that much pain shows his competitive spirit. But, his injury hurt the team. Hopefully, the weight lifting in this off-season will help keep him strong and healthy.
Next: Looks Who's Back: Donny Kelly Baby!
A healthy V-Mart can be a major factor in leading the team to big things – even play-off games.