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Martin expected to return from DL in Seattle

Outfielder nursing hamstring strain, eligible to be activated Friday
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The Tigers have put together a solid stretch of baseball despite injuries up and down their regular lineup. They're hoping to get a key piece at the top of their lineup back in the coming days with Leonys Martin, who's recuperating quickly from his strained left hamstring.

Martin, who went on the 10-day disabled list May 9, is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on Friday. He might not be ready that day, but he shouldn't be far off.

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DETROIT -- The Tigers have put together a solid stretch of baseball despite injuries up and down their regular lineup. They're hoping to get a key piece at the top of their lineup back in the coming days with Leonys Martin, who's recuperating quickly from his strained left hamstring.

Martin, who went on the 10-day disabled list May 9, is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on Friday. He might not be ready that day, but he shouldn't be far off.

View Full Game Coverage

"We're going to be extra careful because of the history with his leg," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It'll probably be somewhere in the Seattle series. It might not be the first game. It might be the last game. We're just going to have to go with it."

Video: DET@TEX: Martin smashes a 2-run shot to right-center

When Martin went on the DL in Texas, an exam of his hamstring showed he was at risk for a more serious injury if he kept playing, as he had for several days after initially suffering the injury. Since then, he has been rehabbing and strengthening the hamstring -- first at home in Miami, then this week back with the team.

"He fought it when he was hurt earlier, saying he was fine, and then he finally gave in to us," Gardenhire said. "I want him to be honest with us, because I know he wants to play, like every player. But still, we have to make sure he's healthy before we run him back out there."

Gardenhire agrees with Cabrera
Speaking of making sure players are fully healthy, Gardenhire agrees with Miguel Cabrera's preference to wait until he's at full strength with his right hamstring before bringing him back from the 10-day DL.

Cabrera's semi-joking comments about taking his time after playing hurt in previous years grabbed attention around Detroit. But Gardenhire, who went through similar situations in Minnesota with stars dealing with injuries as they aged, gets it.

"Every player wants to play healthy, and Miguel's played through a lot already this year, beat up, playing with sore legs," Gardenhire said. "And you know what? We want him healthy. I don't want to run him out there and let him kill himself trying to play hurt. So I agree with him. Let's get him healthy. That's our goal, to get healthy and get him back on the field like he was when he started [the season].

"Playing hurt, that doesn't do him any good. We all know you're a better player when you're healthy, and that's where we want to get him. That's what the trainers are working on, and he's working on it. And I think he might have been messing around with you guys a little bit when he said it, but it's true. We want him healthy, and he wants to be healthy. That way he can play better and enjoy the game himself."

Video: DET@BAL: Cabrera belts 3-run homer to deep right

Gardenhire was the Twins' manager when Joe Mauer went through leg injuries and concussions at catcher before finally moving to first base. Gardenhire also saw Justin Morneau battle concussion issues and Torii Hunter deal with leg issues while playing on the artificial surface of the Metrodome.

"Mauer was a catcher and had the knee thing and would say he was fine, but we'd look at his knee and we'd watch him walk and he wasn't fine," Gardenhire said. "So you had to back him off and you had to take care of him. Morneau had the concussion, we couldn't really do anything about that, but the kid wanted to play. You just have to give them time. Miguel, he's a little bit older here, so you have to give him probably more time. I don't want him to come back hurt. I don't want him to come back saying, 'My back's stiff, or my shoulder's stiff, but I can get through these things.' Let's just let him get healthy right now."

Quick hits
• Asked how many of the five Tigers currently on the 10-day DL would accompany the team on its upcoming road trip, Gardenhire said, "I don't know how much our plane holds. We might have to pull a little wagon behind us if you want to bring them all."

• Though Gardenhire joked after Tuesday's win that he had Buck Farmer up in the bullpen as a decoy, Farmer said he was in reserve if the Indians tied the game going into the ninth, or if the game went to extra innings.

Jeimer Candelario received a cortisone shot in his ailing left wrist. He hopes to resume rehab activities on Thursday.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera, Leonys Martin