J.D. exits Tigers game with back tightness

J.D. exits Tigers game with back tightness

DETROIT -- Just as J.D. Martinez seemed to be working his way out of his recent slump, the Tigers outfielder found himself in the training room. He left Wednesday's 6-2 loss against the Twins with lower back tightness.

Martinez is considered day to day, the Tigers announced. They have a quick turnaround for a Thursday afternoon series finale against the Twins before traveling to St. Louis for a key three-game series against the Cardinals.

"I don't know the seriousness of it," manager Brad Ausmus said after the game. "He took some swings down in the cage, said it didn't bother him too much. It is the recurrence of an issue he had earlier, so we don't want it to linger. We certainly need his bat in the lineup."

Martinez, who homered on Tuesday night, had two of Detroit's four hits off Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco on Wednesday, but also did a lot of running in right field to chase down a flurry of Twins extra-base hits early off Tigers starter Kyle Lobstein. Once the bottom of the sixth inning began, Martinez was seen walking down the dugout tunnel with the Tigers' athletic training staff, and Rajai Davis was grabbing a bat to pinch-hit.

Martinez has a healthy history since signing with the Tigers just over a year ago. The 27-year-old played in 123 games with Detroit last season despite spending the first few weeks of April at Triple-A Toledo.

Any loss of Martinez further saps power from a Tigers lineup that has struggled to score runs lately, even with the infusion of speed that a lineup with Davis and Anthony Gose might provide. With Victor Martinez struggling and still less than full strength on his left knee -- and not starting in the Cardinals series with no designated hitter slot available -- Detroit's lineup would be thin if J.D. Martinez missed any games this weekend.

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.