V-Mart ends first BP of spring with drives over fence

Opening Day looking more realistic for Tigers' DH as he rehabs from knee surgery

V-Mart ends first BP of spring with drives over fence

LAKELAND, Fla. -- At least for pregame batting practice, the Tigers are pretty close to full strength. Victor Martinez joined Miguel Cabrera on the field Monday, taking BP with the team for the first time this spring.

It was his first hitting outside of the indoor batting cages since he underwent surgery a month ago on the torn meniscus in his left knee.

"I feel good," Martinez said. "It was the first time in a while and everything was fast, even BP. But I expected it to be like that."

Even so, he caught up soon enough. As he neared the end of his final round, Martinez let loose on a couple of swings and sent a couple of drives over the fence.

"I wanted to just try to let it go a little bit at the end," Martinez said. "That's always going to feel good. At the same time, I know my game. Last year was last year. Everything I was hitting was going out. But I've been in the league long enough to know my game. That's why in BP I just hit gap to gap and work on hitting line drives. The rest will happen."

Martinez spent last week hitting off a tee while running on the Tigers' anti-gravity treadmill. Tuesday will mark four weeks since his surgery, putting him on the front end of his timetable for return. He isn't close to game action yet, but his latest bit of progress makes Opening Day look a little more realistic.

"I don't know anything about that," Martinez said. "That's what they say, but it's different what you feel. Just thank God everything is going good. We will see what happens."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.