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V-Mart leaves game with irritation of sore back

DETROIT -- Victor Martinez's return to the Tigers' lineup lasted just a game and a half. His absence this time could linger into next week.

One night after homering in his return from a sore back, Martinez left Friday's game against the Rays after three at-bats when he aggravated the injury. The soreness is centered on his right side, he said, and originated from a swing he took last Sunday in Houston.

Martinez is expected to miss Saturday's middle game of this series, and seemed pessimistic about his chances for Sunday as well.

"I don't know," Martinez said. "The way I'm feeling right now, I don't see it happening."

With a day off on Monday, Martinez could take three days of rest before returning for Tuesday's series opener against the Dodgers.

Martinez had returned to action Thursday and homered off Rays lefty Erik Bedard, quieting any lingering concern over his status. Ausmus said Friday that the switch-hitting Martinez felt better swinging right-handed than left-handed, but said later that Martinez had reported improvement from both sides.

Friday's matchup against Rays righty Alex Cobb put his status to the test. So did Cobb's fourth-inning pitch that hit Martinez in the back of his right leg, leaving him hobbling to first base. He stayed in the game and rounded the bases to score on a Torii Hunter groundout, then added an RBI single off Cobb two innings later.

The pitch had nothing to do with the injury, Martinez said. The swing he put on the RBI single, however, aggravated it.

"One swing," he said. "That's all it takes."

When Martinez's DH spot came back around in the eighth inning, however, Rajai Davis pinch-hit.

The Tigers face right-hander Chris Archer on Saturday before a nationally televised Sunday night matchup against left-hander David Price. If Martinez can't go, Davis would likely re-enter the starting lineup, leaving J.D. Martinez or Hunter to move to DH.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.
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