In 2011, the designated hitter for the Detroit Tigers hit .330 with 12 home runs, 103 RBIs and an .850 OPS.

In 2012, the designated hitter for the Tigers hit .267 with 18 home runs, 74 RBIs and a .707 OPS.

In 2013, the designated hitter for the Tigers is very likely to post numbers somewhere in between.

Tigers fans are excited about the return of Victor Martinez to both the starting lineup and to the Tigers clubhouse. They should be. Martinez is a professional hitter and an excellent teammate.

But many fans might expect a bit too much out of him in 2013. Martinez is a career .303 hitter who averages 20 home runs and 104 RBIs for every 162 games played. But he isn't going to play 162 games this season. He'll come up well short of that. And, to state the obvious, he has never been 34 years old before and has never had to come back after missing an entire season with an injury.

Still, there is no reason to believe he will have physical problems once the season begins. It has been more than a full year since he suffered the injury. He has worked hard to rehabilitate his knee over a long period of time. The Tigers will ease him into action this spring.

The fact that he is a designated hitter and not, say, a shortstop or a third baseman will prevent wear and tear on his knee. So will the fact that the Tigers absolutely will not allow him to play catcher before he is physically ready, if they do at all.

Will Martinez be able to contribute as much or more to the offense as he did in 2011? That seems like a lot to expect of a 24-year-old All-Star who has never been injured much less a 34-year-old who is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

But will he be ready to contribute from Day One of the 2013 season? Barring an unforeseen physical setback, there's no reason to believe he won't be.