J.D. Martinez returns ahead of schedule

Tigers outfielder Adduci placed on DL with oblique injury

J.D. Martinez returns ahead of schedule

ANAHEIM -- Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez made his season debut Friday against the Angels. Martinez, who began the year on the disabled list, rejoined the Tigers a few days ahead of schedule because outfielder Jim Adduci landed on the DL after sustaining a right oblique strain in batting practice Thursday.

Martinez was in the Minors rehabbing a ligament strain in his right foot sustained during Spring Training. He played six games with Triple-A Toledo and Class A Advanced Lakeland, including the Mud Hens' Thursday contest at Gwinnett in which he hit a solo home run. Martinez said he woke up at 5 a.m. Friday to catch a flight to Anaheim. He batted sixth and started in right field in the second of a four-game set against the Angels.

Martinez went 1-for-3 and also made a defensive gaffe in right field in Friday's 7-0 loss to the Angels. Manager Brad Ausmus said the club will gauge how Martinez is feeling when he arrives at the ballpark Saturday before determining if he'll be in the lineup.

"I'm excited to be here," Martinez said. "This is what I train in the offseason for. I've just been at home, watching the games, going crazy, just dying to get back."

Martinez was expected to play a few more games at Triple-A before joining the Tigers in Anaheim this weekend or in Detroit early next week, but the Adduci injury accelerated Martinez's timeline. Martinez took more than 50 at-bats between his rehab assignment and extended spring training and said the additional games were more for performance than injury concerns, noting there's no risk of further damage to his foot.

"It's sore, it's achy, you feel it, but that's normal," Martinez said. "The doctor said if you didn't have any pain, it would be abnormal. So there's nothing that's not normal, you just gotta play through it."

The Tigers plan to ease Martinez back over the next couple of games, but Ausmus said how much he plays is dependent on how he feels and his mobility on the basepaths and in right field.

"We're going to consult him, see how he feels, see how he's moving," Ausmus said. "If it seems like he's not moving great in the outfield and around the bases, there may be situations where we have to pinch-run for him or defend for him. We've just got to wait and see."

Adduci was a late scratch for Thursday's opener against the Angels. In the last round of batting practice, Adduci said he felt his oblique tighten up after a swing. He was placed on the 10-day DL Friday (retroactive to Thursday) and is hopeful the issue will clear up with rest.

The injury is a tough break for Adducci, who was performing well in his first Major League action since 2014. He's hitting .318 (14-for-44) with six extra-base hits through 13 games this season.

Adduci's bases-clearing triple

"I think it's just going to be taking it day to day. There's not much you can really do except take some time," Adduci said. "Hopefully I can be smart about it, not try to rush back and make sure that I'm ready to go."

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.