Question: How many games will Victor Martinez start at catcher?
James Schmehl: Martinez wants to catch this year. He worked out in catcher's gear in workouts and claims he'll be ready when called upon. My guess? That call won't come.
Barring an emergency scenario, Martinez won't see playing time -- let alone start a game -- behind the plate this year. Why? Simple. It's too big a risk. Coming off a knee surgery, which ended his 2012 season, the Tigers have to watch Martinez closely. And, it's clear they are -- having already scaled back his at-bats this spring.
Detroit will be without a DH for 10 games, leaving Martinez without a spot in the lineup -- unless he is to catch or play first base. First base shouldn't be a problem as it's not nearly as stressful on knees, but with Prince Fielder slated to play nearly every game at first, it seems Martinez's services won't be needed.
That leaves catcher. And, on days when Detroit faces a left-hander, Martinez could spell Avila behind the plate. Only, the risk seems bigger than the reward. The Tigers signed switch-hitter Brayan Pena this offseason, expecting him to serve as Avila's backup. Unless they're trailing in the division by a few games heading into the final series in Miami, it makes more sense to keep Martinez on the bench.
Tigers over-under: How many games will Victor Martinez start at catcher?
Michigan Live | Mar 6