After making a running catch in right field, J.D. Martinez left the Detroit Tigers’ Grapefruit League game against the Miami Marlins on Saturday with a minor right ankle injury. Reporters indicated that Martinez came up limping after the catch, but left the field under his own power before being evaluated by head athletic trainer Kevin Rand in the dugout. Martinez left the game in the first inning, and was replaced by outfielder Alex Presley.
While the Tigers haven’t exactly run roughshod over their Grapefruit League competition this spring — it has even seemed like the opposite at times, unfortunately — they have stayed in relatively good health. However, that has not been the case over the past couple days. Miguel Cabrera left a World Baseball Classic game with lower back tightness earlier this week, and may be out for the rest of the Classic. Martinez will likely miss a game or two after this setback as well. Luckily, neither injury seems to be serious; Cabrera may still play in Saturday night’s Pool F finale, while Martinez was no longer limping by the time he reached the Tigers clubhouse in Lakeland.
Still, these two instances highlight how fragile the Tigers’ chances at contention are this season. They narrowly missed the playoffs last season after losing Martinez for six weeks with a fractured elbow, and could see the same fate in 2017 if their stars do not stay healthy.
Martinez later returned to the field on crutches, as reported by Whitecaps play-by-play announcer Dan Hasty on Twitter.
#Tigers OF J.D. Martinez just returned to the ballpark on crutches. Regardless, he told me he's feeling better.— Dan Hasty (@ThatDanHasty) March 18, 2017
On a positive note, Presley hit a solo home run to right field to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.