As happy as they were to have secured Doug Fister two summers ago in that big trade with the Mariners it was the parting package that hurt.

The Tigers liked Charlie Furbush and his flexible left-handed toolkit. They thought Chance Ruffin would develop into a prize of a big-league right-hander. And they were particularly high on a third-base prospect named Francisco Martinez who had the makings of a potential All-Star.

But for reasons that never quite made sense it didn’t click for Martinez and the Mariners. Seattle had a full house of third basemen and tried to make him a center fielder. He began to struggle. And to languish. And to spiral downward with his bat a nosedive that turned around this summer — after the Tigers brought him back to their farm system in a June transaction.

Martinez is batting .303 in 53 games at Single A Lakeland. He is back playing third base after his unpleasant venture as a Mariners outfield prospect. And he has a smoother swing thanks to some tinkering by Lakeland hitting coach Larry Herndon as well as Bruce Fields the Tigers roving hitting instructor.

“He’s made a few adjustments and he’s enjoying himself” said Herndon who played left field on the Tigers’ 1984 world championship team. “He’s really enjoying playing baseball again.

“We’ve quieted down his stance a little bet. And we’ve been working to get him to drive the ball a bit more. And what you’re seeing now is that he’s pulling the ball a little better and using the left side a bit more than he was.”

Martinez turns 23 in September but is not seriously over-aged or for a moment an overmatch in the rugged Florida State League. He is 6-foot-2 210 pounds and bats right-handed.