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V-Mart lands on DL; Tigers recall Collins

No timetable set for All-Star DH's return from left knee inflammation
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The Tigers didn't waste time with their options regarding Victor Martinez. In the end, however, the only option manager Brad Ausmus saw was to put his All-Star designated hitter on the 15-day disabled list with left knee inflammation. The team recalled outfielder Tyler Collins from Triple-A Toledo before Tuesday night's game, an 8-1 victory for the Brewers.

The move comes on the heels of a postgame meeting Monday night between Ausmus, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, owner Mike Ilitch and eventually Martinez, who went 0-for-4 with no balls hit out of the infield Monday night after resting his left knee for the better part of four games.

Full Game Coverage

DETROIT -- The Tigers didn't waste time with their options regarding Victor Martinez. In the end, however, the only option manager Brad Ausmus saw was to put his All-Star designated hitter on the 15-day disabled list with left knee inflammation. The team recalled outfielder Tyler Collins from Triple-A Toledo before Tuesday night's game, an 8-1 victory for the Brewers.

The move comes on the heels of a postgame meeting Monday night between Ausmus, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, owner Mike Ilitch and eventually Martinez, who went 0-for-4 with no balls hit out of the infield Monday night after resting his left knee for the better part of four games.

Full Game Coverage

Martinez aggravated his knee midway through the last homestand and underwent a cortisone injection Thursday. He also seemed to tweak his knee when he took a hard step on first base trying to beat out an eighth-inning double play.

"It was probably more about the at-bats," Ausmus said. "We were hoping that final step of the cortisone injection, we might see a difference in his ability to swing a bat from the left side. I just think over the course of the game last night, we decided -- or I decided, quite frankly, with Dave's agreement -- that we weren't seeing the same guy. He just wasn't getting better the way we hoped he'd get better while playing. We just came to the realization that he's got to rest."

Video: MIL@DET: V-Mart on his recent woes, injury

Detroit has operated for a month and a half under the belief that a DL stint would do little to improve Martinez's left knee, which underwent surgery in February to trim part of the meniscus that had torn during offseason workouts. His injury is actually above the meniscus.

His continued struggles forced the team to reconsider the DL. Last year's American League MVP runner-up is batting .216 (24-for-111) with three doubles, a home run and 15 RBIs.

Though Martinez said he felt a difference running on Monday, a sentiment echoed by Ausmus, the difference meant little with the bat. The switch-hitting Martinez fell to 12-for-85 batting left-handed with Monday's performance, after which he reiterated that he doesn't feel comfortable enough batting right-handed against right-handers.

"He wasn't upset in an angry way," Ausmus said of the meeting. "He was upset because he didn't want to go on the DL. He's got a warrior mentality and he wanted to show his teammates he could play through the pain, but I think it finally came to the realization to him that it was probably more than pain. It was an injury that had to be taken care of, or he wouldn't be able to perform the way he's used to performing.

"As emotional as it was, Victor is a good person, so I think he understood it. He didn't want to have to go on the disabled list, but I think deep down he understands why."

Ausmus did not put a timetable on how long Martinez would likely be out, other than to say they expect him to contribute again this season. He won't pick up a bat for a week, but he'll have to strengthen the knee.

"There's inflammation involved, but it's more about strengthening the area of the knee that's aggravating," Ausmus said. "I think at this point we have to get Victor back being capable of playing the way Victor has hit and played in the past."

The Tigers have several left-handed hitters available at Toledo, but Collins has the most Major League experience. The 24-year-old hit .248 (28-for-113) for the Mud Hens with six doubles, no home runs, nine RBIs, 15 walks, 24 strikeouts and a .639 OPS. Collins is 10-for-48 with five walks and 14 strikeouts in May. He has fared much better against right-handers, batting .316 (24-for-76) with all of six of his doubles and an .825 OPS.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Detroit Tigers, Tyler Collins, Victor Martinez