DETROIT -- The eighth-inning ball down the right-field line that Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez dropped for an error had minor impact besides an add-on run in Cleveland's 7-4 win Monday night. But it reflected a lingering concern for Martinez, who fractured his elbow running into the right-field wall on a similar play in June.
Martinez lost a month and a half to the injury. He came back around the beginning of August and has hit like the injury is in his past, but he still might not be over it mentally. As he chased Carlos Santana's fly ball, he admits he thought back to his pursuit of Paulo Orlando's ball at Kansas City.
"That's exactly what happened," Martinez said. "It also happened in Cleveland, but luckily the ball was foul. Every time I go to that corner, I used to go fearless into it, but it's hard not to [let it] get in your head. But it's a fear that I'm going to have to learn to get over.
"I'm running that way and I broke hard, and I look and I see the wall there, and I said, 'Oh boy, this is going to be another one of those kind of plays.' And I kind of tried to just time it up where I didn't go full speed, and the rest is history."
Considering the way Martinez has hit since his return, and considering his two-run homer provided half the Tigers' offense Monday, it's easy to forgive. It's also easy to see how that injury could take a while to forget.
"It's a difference between a bloop and a blast, and two bloops and a blast," Martinez said. "And with this lineup you never know, but three's a lot harder to come back from than two."
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.