Victor Martinez injured his left knee during an offseason workout last week, and was examined today at the Watson Clinic. According to an update released by the Tigers, Martinez tore his left meniscus and will undergo surgery with Dr. James Andrews next week. Martinez will miss all of spring training, putting his status for Opening Day in doubt.
Martinez is coming off the best offensive season of his career in 2014. He hit .335/.409/.565 with 32 home runs and 103 RBI, finishing second to Houston's Jose Altuve in the batting title race. He was worth 4.4 WAR despite serving as the team's primary designated hitter, and finished second in the AL MVP voting to Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. The Tigers rewarded Martinez with a four year, $68 million contract extension this offseason. The 36-year-old Martinez iterated his desire to finish his career in Detroit. He will be 39 years old during the final season of his contract, in 2018.
Who will replace Victor Martinez as DH?
The Tigers will need to replace designated hitter Victor Martinez after he was sidelined by a left knee torn medial meniscus, which will cause him to miss spring training. While it's a complication, at least they have options.
Martinez missed the entire 2012 season after tearing his left ACL in January. His timetable for recovery from meniscus surgery depends on the procedure performed, but initial updates suggest that Martinez will miss four to six weeks. He may still be able to play on Opening Day, but a short stint on the disabled list to begin the year would not be a surprise. If Martinez requires a more extensive procedure -- such as a full meniscus repair -- he could miss two to three months of the season.
Regardless of when he returns, Martinez's performance could be a concern. He started slow when returning to action in 2013 after missing the 2012 season, hitting .258/.314/.380 in the first half. Martinez got hot in the second half, though, hitting .361/.413/.500 down the stretch. Martinez's return to form likely will not take as long in 2015, but a period of sluggishness would not be a surprise.
Martinez's injury comes at the worst possible time for the Tigers, who are also uncertain about Miguel Cabrera's status for Opening Day after undergoing right ankle surgery earlier this offseason. Cabrera's rehab appears to be on schedule, but the severity of his injury and depth of his surgery require a longer timetable for recovery.