Now, the Nationals. And now, there will be no Victor Martinez.

Not in the starting lineup, anyway, as the Tigers move to Nationals Park for Tuesday-Wednesday games against a National League team that, because it is playing at home and observes league rules, won't be using the designated hitter.

"It's fair to say he'll be coming off the bench to pinch-hit," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Sunday as the Tigers prepared for life without Martinez, their switch-hitting DH.

"I don't want to lose Victor, but it is what it is. I can't worry about it."

The Tigers will start Anibal Sanchez in Tuesday's game and Doug Fister the next night as Tigers pitchers become reacquainted with that National League custom of having pitchers bat.

Measured purely by his batting average (.220), a missing Martinez hardly emasculates Leyland's batting order. But the Tigers understand Martinez has hit one pitch after another this spring, hard, and has too often lashed it into a defender's glove.

Leyland will try to get Martinez into games early, even as a first baseman, Leyland said, if a game is decided and Prince Fielder could use a breather. But his options figure to be limited when Martinez, because of past knee problems, will not work at Martinez's old position, catcher.

Avila ailing

Just as it appeared Alex Avila 's bat was healing, the Tigers catcher missed Sunday's 9-0 wipeout of the Astros because of a stomach ailment.

Avila hit the winning home run in Friday's game and followed with a double and single Saturday but was slammed later that night with a nasty bug.

The ailment was not considered serious and Leyland expected Avila back in time for Tuesday's series opener at Washington. Avila had been in a miserable spring slump that showed signs of dissolving after back-to-back bust-out games against the Astros.