DETROIT -- One of the worst fears of a playoff team is an injury down the stretch in games after a team has clinched. That nearly happened to the Tigers on Wednesday -- and to one of their key hitters -- when Victor Martinez hobbled off the field and eventually out of the game with a bruised right big toe.
It was bad enough that team medical staff had to drill a hole in his toenail to drain the swollen toe. But at this point, it isn't bad enough that the Tigers have to worry about his status for Game 1 of the AL Division Series Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
"You're going to have to kill me to keep me out of the lineup," Martinez said. "I'm just DHing, and I'm going to go out there like I've been doing the whole season, just go out there and battle and give my best effort."
Martinez fouled a ball off the toe in his first at-bat, but stayed in for a single leading off the second inning. Moreover, he stayed in for singles in the fourth and sixth innings as well, the first of them driving in Delmon Young for Detroit's first run. As the designated hitter, he could rest his feet between at-bats.
All the while, though, the pressure was building in his toe. Once his spot came up in the seventh after Miguel Cabrera's double, Andy Dirks came up to pinch-hit.
"It was just getting uncomfortable," Martinez said. "I could barely put weight on it."
He went back into the clubhouse and got the drill. After that, Martinez said, it was "a lot better."
"They had to put a hole in my nail and drain it and blow out of it," Martinez said. "It's sore, but I'll be OK."
Manager Jim Leyland confirmed he expects Martinez to be ready.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.