J.D. practicing patience during slow rehab

Recovering from fractured elbow, Tigers OF limited to cardio, legwork

J.D. practicing patience during slow rehab

ST. PETERSBURG -- Some days, J.D. Martinez feels like he could be back on a field and ready to move on from his fractured elbow. Other days, he wonders how he could possibly be ready in a four-week timetable. It's hard for him to tell from one day to the next how he's going to feel.

So the best way to describe Martinez's status, two weeks since he crashed into the wall down the right-field line at Kauffman Stadium, is slow progress. Hitting the fast end of that recovery timetable, at least at this point, seems less likely than before. He would have to start throwing, start hitting, then move toward a rehab assignment in the next two weeks.

"You don't know," he said. "It's just one of those things. It depends on how quick I get over those hurdles."

For now, his activity is limited to mainly cardio work and lower-body maintenance. He tried to shag fly balls in batting practice Friday, and he's swinging a bat one-handed without trying to contact the ball. He can stand in on bullpen sessions to provide a reference point for pitchers.

"I'm just crushing my legs right now," Martinez said. "I try to run, and still, when I run full speed, that pumping [of the arms] bothers me. So I can run, but just that full-out sprint just gets aggravating. You're still using your arms, whether you think you're doing so or not."

It can be frustrating at times, and it would be moreso if the Tigers were sinking toward oblivion in the meantime. The fact that the team has survived his absence relatively well gives him some patience in the process.

"The biggest recommendation that was given to me was, 'Don't rush,'" he said. "That's not saying don't rush the injury, just don't rush the timing. As long as the team's playing well and we're doing well, there's really no rush. And that's what we're doing right now.

"If we were struggling, then it's kind of having more of a sense of urgency to get back and try to make a difference. But we're playing well right now. Hopefully, when I go on a rehab assignment, we continue to play well so I can just really take my time and be ready when I come back."

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.