J.D. Martinez out 4-6 weeks with broken elbow

J.D. Martinez out 4-6 weeks with broken elbow

KANSAS CITY -- The play looked innocent enough, J.D. Martinez crashing into the wall in the right-field corner of Kauffman Stadium chasing after a ball. When Martinez wasn't moving his right arm afterward, it was clearly serious.

The result, a fractured bone in Martinez's right elbow, will keep the All-Star slugger out of the Tigers lineup for the foreseeable future. He's expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Martinez will go on the 15-day disabled list Friday. Outfield prospect Steven Moya will be recalled from Triple-A Toledo, the Tigers announced after Thursday's 10-4 win over the Royals.

"It stings," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, "but Steven Moya is going to get an opportunity to play some. If he comes up here and swings the bat similar to how he swung it down in Toledo, maybe we don't miss a beat."

Moya, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Tigers' No. 9 prospect, spent two weeks with the Tigers last month, going 9-for-32 with two doubles and two triples in spot duty. The 24-year-old rejoined the Mud Hens May 27 and picked up where he left off, now batting .298 (61-for-205) on the season with 13 home runs, 38 RBIs and an .896 OPS.

Martinez chased a fly ball by the Royals' Paulo Orlando into the right-field corner leading off the bottom of the second inning. Martinez couldn't track it down, then had to brace himself for impact with the wall in foul territory.

Martinez reached out to soften the blow and bounced off the wall. He remained standing, but left his arm dangling to his side as Ausmus and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand ran out to attend to him.

"He knew. He said he felt a pop," Ausmus said. "I thought he dislocated his shoulder the way he held his arm down. When we got out there, I was a little surprised it was his elbow."

According to the Tigers, X-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture of the radius, one of three bones that comprise the elbow joint. The radial neck is closer to the elbow.

Martinez will undergo a CT scan on Friday to confirm the initial diagnosis.

The Tigers were already down an outfielder. Regular center fielder Cameron Maybin was out of the starting lineup and listed as day to day with right quad tightness. With Justin Upton getting a start in center and Mike Aviles in left, Martinez had extra ground to cover toward the gap.

Martinez's exit left the Tigers' outfield ranks further depleted. Utility player Andrew Romine replaced Martinez and entered in center, moving Aviles to right and Upton back to his usual spot in left.

The bigger impact, though, could come in the lineup. Martinez entered Thursday on a seven-game hitting streak, batting 15-for-27 in that stretch. He struck out in the second inning, ending the streak. He ranks second on the Tigers with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs to go with a .287 batting average.

Moya was expected to get a chance to compete for a starting job this spring until the Tigers signed Upton just before Spring Training. He'll likely get a good stretch of at-bats for at least the next month or so.

"It's definitely an opportunity," Ausmus said. "He's going to get some at-bats, and hopefully he takes advantage of it, for us and for himself."

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.