Yes, Victor Martinez is swinging a bat.

Impressively, in fact.

"It doesn't look like he's lost anything," Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon said. "I see a lot of zip, a lot of pop in his swing."

Is he running the bases?


With no pain.

"That was the last hurdle," Tigers trainer Kevin Rand said. "We've put him through all the turns and all situations he'll face. He's very pleased with how he's progressed."

But to understand the elevated level Martinez, in his mind, has reached as far as his comeback from knee surgery is concerned, it's better seen than said.

On a warm, sunny morning at Marchant Stadium, with its lush grass and healthy palm trees showing just how comfortable a winter it's been in Polk County, Martinez and Tigers catcher Alex Avila are playing long-toss catch.

Avila is wearing a catcher's mitt because, well, he's a catcher.

Martinez, who'll be the full-time designated hitter after missing last year because of left knee surgery, could have worn any glove.

So he did.

He wore a catcher's mitt.

Here is a proud, productive hitter — .330 in his only year with the Tigers — coming back from a year-long ordeal, but not accepting the one-dimensional future to which his injury is attempting to limit him.

"Was that a catcher's glove you were wearing out there?" Martinez was asked.