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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Martinez headed to 15-day DL; Tigers bring up Santos to back up at C

For the second time in as many weeks, Tigers manager Jim Leyland was forced to take one of his big bats out of the lineup in the middle of a game, when the pain became visible to anyone watching.

While he was able to let Magglio Ordonez work his way through the ankle pain that kept him out of the lineup for five games, he won't have that luxury with the groin injury that has sidelined Victor Martinez.'s Jason Beck confirmed Tuesday night that the Tigers placed Martinez on the 15-day disabled list after his strained groin was examined in the afternoon.

Even before the extent of his injury was clear, the club was forced to purchase the Minor League contract of Omir Santos from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday to back up Alex Avila until Martinez can resume that role. Utility man Don Kelly had been listed as the emergency catcher, but was never intended to be used in anything other than an absolute emergency.

Santos, who missed most of spring training with a toe injury, signed a Minor League contract with the Tigers in December as insurance at the catching position. The soon-to-be 30-year-old bounced around the Mets’ minor league organization last year after playing in 96 games in a platoon at catcher for the parent club in 2009, hitting a respectable .260 with 14 doubles and seven homers.

More important than Martinez's glove, however, will be replacing his bat in the order. While he was hitting just a modest .250 with nine RBI, the Tigers had signed him to a four-year, $50 million contract based on his track record — a career batting average of .299 and 103 RBI per season — making him the perfect protection in the order for cleanup hitter Miguel Cabrera.

With Martinez on the shelf, that role will likely fall again to Brennan Boesch, who inherited that unenviable job last season.


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