DETROIT -- J.D. Martinez didn't necessarily feel any honor in putting together the longest Major League plate appearance of 2017 on Thursday, even though he ended it with an RBI single off Royals reliever Kevin McCarthy. If anything, the Tigers' slugger was upset it took him that long."That's more what
DETROIT -- J.D. Martinez didn't necessarily feel any honor in putting together the longest Major League plate appearance of 2017 on Thursday, even though he ended it with an RBI single off Royals reliever Kevin McCarthy. If anything, the Tigers' slugger was upset it took him that long.
"That's more what I was thinking: Why did I miss the first eight pitches I got to hit?" Martinez said with a chuckle. "That was one of those situations where I knew I've got to work on something."
Martinez fouled off 11 pitches in the at-bat, or every pitch that wasn't a ball until his single. Nine of them came in two-strike counts. The last seven were in a row, all with a full count. With two outs and runners at first and second, Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton were running on the last eight pitches.
Martinez fouled off a bunch of 92-94-mph fastballs, many on the inside corners, a couple sliders and a rogue changeup.
"As you keep fouling pitches off," manager Brad Ausmus said, "a lot of times as a hitter you get the feeling, 'All right, I've seen everything he has. Now I just have to either foul off a tough pitch or get a hold of a pitch I recognize.' The other side of it, the longer it goes, the more in your mind you're saying, 'I'm not losing this battle.' It becomes kind of a mano-y-mano situation with every passing foul ball."
That was crossing Martinez's mind as he kept fouling off pitches. Once he ran the count full, all but one of the pitches McCarthy threw him were fastballs. One of those fouls hit hard off Martinez's right foot, the one he twisted in Spring Training, leading to a midfoot sprain that sidelined him for the first couple months of the season. He walked it off, refusing to give up the at-bat.
Once Martinez finally sent a ground ball through the left side and hobbled down to first base, he could finally give a sigh of relief before leaving for a pinch-runner.
"I probably tried 10 different things that at-bat on how to put the ball in play. Nothing was happening," Martinez said. "Then finally I hit it and I was like, 'Whew! Thank God.' But I remember after the 12th pitch, I was contemplating, 'Hey, timeout. I need a cup of water or something.' Because I was starting to get dizzy. But it worked. It paid off. I got a hit, so I was happy."
Martinez is less than pleased, though, about his swing after an at-bat like that.
"Meh," he said.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.