Once they determined last summer that, no, Victor Martinez would not play for the Tigers in 2012, strategies shifted. The focus became 2013.

A slower, steadier rehabilitation program began, designed to heal a switch-hitter's left knee that had been shredded during a workout last January.

With time and gradual rebuilding of that knee, it would seem the Tigers and Martinez have triumphed. A polished middle-of-the-order hitter is working to rejoin manager Jim Leyland's lineup 31 days before pitchers and catchers report for spring camp at Lakeland, Fla.

"He's doing real, real well," Kevin Rand, the Tigers head athletic trainer, said during a Thursday phone conversation. "He's been hitting for a bit more than a month, from soft-toss swings to regular swings, feeling real well, and with no issues.

"He's been doing a running progression that's up to 20 minutes, again, without any issues. And he will initiate a baserunning program (today)."

Martinez, who on Dec. 23 turned 34, has been working toward this point since news broke last Jan. 17 that he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament and damaged the medial and lateral meniscus during a side-stride drill near his home in Orlando, Fla.

Microfracture surgery followed. And while the Tigers held hope that Martinez's knee might heal in time for a late-season return, by mid-August it became clear to doctors that he would miss all of 2012. And, as it turned out, that Martinez also would be shelved for the Tigers' nearly glorious postseason that saw them make the World Series.

Martinez's rehabilitation work continues on most days at the Florida Hospital RDV Sportsplex in Orlando, where Martinez is supervised by his therapist, Doug Allen.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130111/SPORTS0104/301110337#ixzz2Hg39megr