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Martin returns to lineup for second-half opener

MLB.com

DETROIT -- The Tigers began the second half of the season on a positive note Friday by getting Leonys Martin back from the disabled list before their series opener against the Red Sox at Comerica Park.

"He means a lot to us out there," manager Ron Gardenhire said, "so it's nice to have him back."

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DETROIT -- The Tigers began the second half of the season on a positive note Friday by getting Leonys Martin back from the disabled list before their series opener against the Red Sox at Comerica Park.

"He means a lot to us out there," manager Ron Gardenhire said, "so it's nice to have him back."

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Martin, who went on the 10-day DL on July 2 with a right hamstring strain, was batting seventh and playing center field in his first game back. In a corresponding move, Detroit optioned Mikie Mahtook to Triple-A Toledo.

Video: TEX@DET: Mahtook plates Jones with a double in 1st

This was the second time Martin was sidelined with a left hamstring strain. He previously went on the 10-day DL in mid-May. That time, he rejoined the Tigers without going on a rehab assignment. This time around, Martin made three appearances with the Mudhens, batting .300 (3-for-10) with two doubles.

Martin suggested Friday that going to Toledo is what he should have done the first time.

"This time we did the right thing, and I feel pretty good," he said.

Martin said he spent his time on the DL trying to make his left hamstring stronger. He said he feels like that was accomplished, though he admitted it may take a few games to get completely comfortable physically and mentally with the rigors of playing every day again.

Martin's trip to the DL also had implications for the market. The 30-year-old has been the subject of rumors as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. That is especially true now that Michael Fulmer has been placed on the 10-day DL, making it less likely that Fulmer will be dealt.

"The only thing I can control is showing up and being ready to play," Martin said.

Martin is second in the Majors this season with nine assists from center field. At the plate, Martin is hitting .257 from the left side, with nine home runs and 29 RBIs. He's tied for the third on the team with seven stolen bases.

Video: DET@TOR: Martin uncorks 98.4-mph throw to nab Travis

While players generally try to distance themselves from rumors, Martin acknowledged it isn't always practical to be unplugged.

"Especially if you have social media, it's going to be in your mind a little bit," Martin said. "We all read a little bit of something every night, but we have to deal with it. We have no choice."

Martin was signed as a free agent during the offseason. He has been traded twice in his eight-year career, most recently from the Mariners to the Cubs in 2017.

"I like Detroit," Martin said. "I'd like to be here. But it's not up to me. We'll see what happens."

Other notes
• Gardenhire said Jordan Zimmermann was scheduled to play catch Friday and throw a bullpen Saturday after getting a nerve-blocking injection in his back. Zimmermann is tentatively scheduled to start Tuesday against the Royals.

Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

Detroit Tigers, Mikie Mahtook, Leonys Martin