Detroit Tigers' DH Victor Martinez was originally in his normal cleanup spot as part of tonight's starting lineup against the team with the best record in the American League, the Oakland Athletics. But late this afternoon Martinez became a late scratch, replaced by J.D. Martinez.
The reason for Martinez's removal from the lineup is due to what is being called side soreness by manager Brad Ausmus.
"He’s got a little bit of soreness kind of on his back, side area," Ausmus said. "He didn’t want to come out. He took batting practice and he looked OK but I just decided that I didn’t want to risk losing Vic for any extended period of time."
Asumus said today was the first he knew about Martinez's soreness, which apparently flared up Sunday. He added the move was more precautionary in nature, as the team can't afford lose Martinez for an extended amount of time.
Losing Martinez for even one game is blow to the Tigers' offense. Despite slumping through the series with the Houston Astros this weekend (1-for-12), the 35-year-old switch-hitter tops Detroit in most offensive categories. Amongst the Tigers who have enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title, Martinez's slash line of .323/.384./589 leads the team in all three categories. His .323 batting average is fourth overall in the AL. Martinez also tops the Tigers in OPS at .974, home runs with 20, and his 52 RBI are behind only Miguel Cabrera.