Upton expected to return to lineup Friday

Left fielder sustained right-wrist contusion in Tuesday's game vs. the Rays

Upton expected to return to lineup Friday

ST. PETERSBURG -- Tigers outfielder Justin Upton is expected back in the lineup Friday at Minnesota after sustaining a contusion to his right wrist on Tuesday. Manager Brad Ausmus said Upton was doubtful for Thursday's matinee game because of the quick turnaround, and that Friday would be a more realistic return.

"He's not bad, just a little sore," Ausmus said.

Upton sustained the injury on a hard slide into second in the seventh inning when he was struck by Rays shortstop Tim Beckham's arm as Beckham made the throw to first on a double play. The Rays challenged the play on the grounds that Upton's slide was illegal, but the play stood after an official review.

Upton, who is batting .250 with two home runs and six RBIs, was replaced in the bottom half of the seventh by Andrew Romine, who also filled his spot in Wednesday's game against the Rays.

J.D. takes BP
J.D. Martinez had plenty of fist bumps and smiles for his teammates when he walked into the visitors' clubhouse Wednesday. It was the first time he had dressed with the Tigers since going on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right foot March 31.

Martinez's solo home run

Martinez, who has been doing his rehabilitation at the team's Spring Training complex in nearby Lakeland, Fla., took batting practice with the team for the first time since Spring Training.

"It is an important next step," Ausmus said. "He's been taking batting practice in a cage, but there's a marginal difference from hitting in the cage and hitting on the field."

Ausmus did not give a timeline for the return of his All-Star, other than to say Martinez will be cleared to run in the outfield on Friday.

"He's got to be able to run," Ausmus said.

Trop quirks
The dome at Tropicana Field has wreaked havoc on Tigers outfielders to start the series. The late sunsets and the semi-translucent material has made fly balls a bit of an adventure, especially for the Detroit players who aren't accustomed to it.

Center fielder JaCoby Jones nearly lost a routine fly in the series opener and needed a diving catch to recover. Bad jumps have been fairly common.

Jones' unusual catch

"You can't take your eye off it," Tigers outfielder Mikie Mahtook said. "The roof is light and the ball is light, so once it gets up there around the catwalk area, the ball kind of gets lost."

Mahtook knows this better than most. The 27-year-old was a 2011 first-round Draft pick of the Rays, and played parts of the last two seasons with Tampa Bay before being traded to Detroit this offseason.

"Everyone has trouble with it," Mahtook said. "That's just part of the stadium and part of what you have to do."

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.