Tigers to activate V-Mart from 15-day DL

Outfielder Collins optioned down to Triple-A Toledo

Tigers to activate V-Mart from 15-day DL

CINCINNATI -- Victor Martinez arrived in New York on Wednesday night after his rehab game for Triple-A Toledo in Syracuse, beating the Tigers to town by at least 24 hours. He didn't so much rejoin the Tigers in New York as he traveled to New York and waited for the Tigers to rejoin him.

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The latter statement is a technicality. So was the Tigers' decision to activate him from the 15-day disabled list for Friday's series opener against the Yankees.

Detroit announced the move Thursday night upon landing in New York. Tyler Collins, who had been called up from Toledo when Martinez went on the DL a month ago, was optioned back to the Mud Hens.

Martinez went 5-for-17 with a double, run scored and three RBIs over four games with the Hens at Pawtucket and Syracuse. He faced right-handed starters for the final three games and reportedly felt fine with his left-handed swing, the primary source of his early-season struggles due to the weight it puts on his surgically repaired left knee.

Coincidentally, the Yankees are scheduled to start three right-handed pitchers this weekend.

"I talked to him [Wednesday]," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He feels good. He seemed to feel like he was ready. … It would've been more surprising if he said he wasn't ready."

Collins filled in well while Martinez was out, earning 14 starts at designated hitter and the outfield. He batted .275 (14-for-51) with two home runs, including Wednesday's go-ahead pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning, and seven RBIs.

With Martinez back, however, the Tigers decided to get the 25-year-old Collins regular at-bats in Toledo and keep two utility infielders with Andrew Romine and Josh Wilson. The move makes Detroit's bench primarily right-handed, but gives Collins more time for development.

In other Tigers injury news

Alex Avila threw to bases as scheduled Thursday afternoon before batting practice, and he plans on spending the next six days of the Tigers' road trip catching bullpen sessions to get used to squatting again before heading out on a minor-league rehab assignment. "This week is like a mini-Spring Training for me," said Avila, who has missed the past month rehabbing from left knee soreness.

• Drew VerHagen, who made a spot start for the Tigers last summer and pitched for them in Spring Training, picked up his first win of the season on Wednesday at Double-A Erie after missing the first two months of the season with back issues. The win came in two innings of scoreless relief, part of his transition to the bullpen at the Tigers' request.

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