No structural damage for V-Mart, but Tigers cautious

No structural damage for V-Mart, but Tigers cautious

CHICAGO -- Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez was in good spirits at his locker Monday, saying he was doing OK and joking that the right knee he had an MRI exam on earlier in the day was just a sign of old age.

"Nothing major," Martinez said. "Just normal wear and tear."

The Tigers, though, are treating the injury seriously enough. Manager Brad Ausmus kept Martinez out of Monday's lineup and said the team will be careful with him going forward. Martinez will be available to pinch-hit, but it's not clear when he might return to the starting lineup.

For now, Martinez's injury is being called right knee soreness. Ausmus said the MRI did not reveal structural damage, but Martinez does have bruising that is causing lingering pain.

Ausmus said the knee has been bothering Martinez for a couple of weeks. It's not a problem at the plate or even in the field, but Ausmus said the knee tends to flare up when Martinez is on the basepaths, particularly when he steps on bases.

"The bruising is tough to get out," Ausmus said. "It doesn't bother him to hit. Every time he starts running or hits a bag, it reaggravates it a little bit. We're going to try and get him through it, using him based on how he's feeling. ... We'll basically reevaluate on a daily basis. If he can get treatment, hopefully we can knock this out without any major time missed."

Martinez is hitting .333/.381/.519 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs this season.

Worth noting

• With Martinez out, J.D. Martinez was moved to the designated-hitter spot Monday, with Mike Aviles getting the start in right field. J.D. Martinez has started 61 of Detroit's 62 games this season, so Ausmus said he wanted to use this as a chance for him to rest his legs.

• Tigers right-hander Warwick Saupold, on the disabled list with a right groin strain, is throwing up to 120 feet, but he has yet to throw off a mound. Ausmus said Saupold did a leg workout two days ago and didn't feel soreness in his groin.

• Although the Tigers' bullpen has looked strong of late, right-hander Alex Wilson is still trying to find the form that gave him a 2.19 ERA in 59 games last season. In Wilson's past five appearances, he has a 6.35 ERA.

"For him, I think it's more location," Ausmus said. "He just hasn't located as well. I think when he does, he'll be fine."

Cody Stavenhagen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.