Baseball comes at you fact. The Tigers learned this lesson last night with the sudden loss of outfielder J.D. Martinez for an estimated four to six weeks to a right elbow fracture.
Any sounds coming from a body part like the shoulder, especially after running into an outfield fence as Martinez did in the second inning of last night’s 10-4 win over the Royals, are typically an indication of something immediately wrong. The “pop” Martinez told trainers he heard upon impact was an instant red flag to everyone involved. He departed from the game and was replaced in the right field by Andrew Romine.
Through 65 games, Martinez - a 2015 Silver Slugger winner - was hitting .286 this season, with an .878 OPS, 12 HR and 19 2B. The ancient, creaking Detroit offense relies on veterans like Martinez (as well as Victor Martinez, who hit three of the Tigers’ six home runs just last night) putting up these sort of numbers, so his placement on the 15-day disabled list will be felt. He will receive a CT scan, and depending on its results, may need surgery, though ESPN’s Stephania Bell reports that this - a “non-displaced” fracture - is typically a not a surgcial injury. The trick will be maintaining his strength and regaining his swing on the way back.
The injury slowly slides the Tigers further down their outfield depth chart, with Cameron Maybin already out dealing with left quad tightness. To combat the absences, the Tigers recalled prospect Steven Moya from Triple-A Toledo, where he’s been hitting .298 with 13 HR in 50 games.
For what it’s worth, Martinez’s teammate Ian Kinsler didn’t want anyone to blame the wall for Martinez’s injury, for some reason.
"We obviously all feel bad for J.D. It looked innocent. It looked like he was just chasing after a ball and the wall kind of got in his way and the next thing you know, it's a broken elbow."