DETROIT -- J.D. Martinez began taking batting practice Monday as he continues to progress from the right mid-foot sprain that landed him on the disabled list to open the season.
"He really has been progressing extremely well," manager Brad Ausmus said Tuesday morning. "He has been progressing very steadily and probably is slightly ahead of schedule."
The Tigers are no longer providing a timetable for when Martinez could return, noting his progress is based entirely on how he feels with each step of the process. Martinez sprained the lisfranc ligament in his foot, which is a notoriously tricky injury to heal.
So far, though, the progression has gone well. Martinez has gone from dry swings to swinging off a tee to batting practice in a matter of days. The bigger test, though, will be his work in the outfield, which will include not only running but also cutting. Martinez suffered the injury when he pulled out of a slide to make a shoestring catch in right field during a Spring Training game against the Marlins on March 18.
Still, if Martinez feels fine hitting, he could conceivably get at-bats as a designated hitter during extended spring camp or Minor League games while working on outfield play. The latter would count as a formal rehab assignment, which is limited to 20 days, while extended spring games would not.
"I don't know if he'd go to extended spring or [Class A] Lakeland," Ausmus said. "I'm not really sure. We wouldn't expect it to be a 20-day rehab. He may go to Lakeland. It hasn't been decided."
Other Tigers injury notes
• Justin Upton returned to the Tigers' lineup Tuesday after being scratched from Monday's game against the Red Sox with upper-back tightness.
• Class A Lakeland right-hander Sandy Baez, the Tigers' 11th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has been placed on the disabled list with an intercostal strain. He made one start for the Flying Tigers before suffering the injury.