V-Mart returns, but Maybin out with tight quad

V-Mart returns, but Maybin out with tight quad

KANSAS CITY -- The Tigers regained the full-game services of Victor Martinez, who returned to Detroit's starting lineup on Thursday for the first time since tweaking his right knee on Sunday. However, they have a new injury concern with center fielder Cameron Maybin, who was out of the lineup for the second time in three days.

Maybin is dealing with what he and manager Brad Ausmus called left quad tightness. He suffered it while on the basepaths during Monday's series opener against the White Sox, did not start Tuesday's game, then returned to the lineup Wednesday.

It's not something that should cost Maybin much time, he said, as long as it remains minor.

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"I just need to get some treatment on it," Maybin said Thursday afternoon, prior to the club's series opener against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. "I just don't want to make it worse."

Maybin has been dealing with left wrist soreness that has flared up from time to time, leading him to have a cortisone shot last week. The wrist bothered him while swinging, but that was about it. The quad is a bigger concern, because it can affect him whenever he's on the run, on the bases or in the field. That's why it was a less-than-pleasant surprise when Ausmus found out about the injury on Thursday afternoon.

"A big part of his game is his ability to use his legs," Ausmus said, "so you don't want to lose him for an extended period of time."

Ausmus categorized Maybin's status as day to day. With Maybin out Thursday, Justin Upton shifted from left field to center field, with Mike Aviles taking over in left for his fifth consecutive starting assignment. Jose Iglesias moved up to fill Maybin's No. 2 spot in the lineup, between Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera.

Martinez got the start at DH, batting fourth, but Ausmus said he's going to have to check with the 37-year-old slugger regularly and potentially give him an occasional day off to rest. Martinez entered Thursday ranking fourth in the American League in hitting with a .332 batting average, trailing the Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts, the Astros' Jose Altuve and the Red Sox's David Ortiz.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. 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.