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Tigers activate, start V-Mart against Royals

MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The Tigers activated designated hitter Victor Martinez from the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday, returning him to the starting lineup against the Royals after he spent the past week and a half sidelined with an irregular heartbeat.

Martinez was dropped to sixth in the batting order, his first game batting lower than the cleanup spot since Sept. 20, 2015, and he went 1-for-4 in the Tigers' 8-2 loss.

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DETROIT -- The Tigers activated designated hitter Victor Martinez from the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday, returning him to the starting lineup against the Royals after he spent the past week and a half sidelined with an irregular heartbeat.

Martinez was dropped to sixth in the batting order, his first game batting lower than the cleanup spot since Sept. 20, 2015, and he went 1-for-4 in the Tigers' 8-2 loss.

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"I thought he looked good," manager Brad Ausmus said. "I thought he looked fresh. I thought his bat speed was good."

Martinez was eligible to return a day earlier, but he wanted to take a full batting practice on Tuesday to make sure he was ready. Though Martinez had been hitting since the middle of last week, he hadn't done a day of full baseball activity, since he wasn't with the team on its recent West Coast trip.

Even on Tuesday, Martinez was wearing a heart monitor as a precaution against a recurrence. His round of medication, however, had ended.

"[Miguel Cabrera] and J.D. Martinez looked good where they were hitting [Tuesday] night," said Ausmus, noting Cabrera hit cleanup and J.D. Martinez fifth. "And obviously, [Alex Avila] has hit well in the two-hole. Kinsler's been the leadoff hitter since I've been here. So that's just where [Victor] slots in."

To make room on the 25-man roster, the Tigers optioned John Hicks to Triple-A Toledo. He went 5-for-18 with two doubles while Martinez was sidelined.

"The big thing is we don't want Hicks sitting around," Ausmus said. "We want him getting at-bats so if there's a need -- and there's a pretty good chance there will be a need at some point -- for him to come back up and do what he's done the previous few times. If he's getting regular at-bats in Toledo, that's probably beneficial for him in the long term, and beneficial for us."

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

Detroit Tigers, Victor Martinez