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V-Mart set to join Tigers this weekend

DETROIT -- While Victor Martinez continued his rehab assignment for Triple-A Toledo in Syracuse, N.Y., on Tuesday night, his schedule has lined for him to rejoin the Tigers when they head to the Empire State. The designated hitter, sidelined since May 19 to strengthen his surgically repaired left knee, is scheduled to join the Tigers for their weekend series against the Yankees.

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"He's meeting us in New York. Whether he's activated or not is another issue," manager Brad Ausmus said Tuesday. "We'll have to see how he feels, if he feels like he's ready."

Martinez went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Monday in his second rehab game for the Mud Hens. It was his first game against a right-handed starting pitcher, testing the left-handed swing that troubled the switch-hitter all season due to lack of strength in his left knee. The Hens were scheduled to face right-handers Tuesday and Wednesday night at Syracuse.

"I texted him yesterday after his four at-bats left-handed, and he said he felt good, hit some balls hard," Ausmus said. "He's a go again tonight, and right now he's on schedule for the next two games in Syracuse."

The Tigers are on track to miss left-hander CC Sabathia in New York and face three right-handed starters instead. So if Martinez is going to earn a return, he'll have to prove he can bat left-handed. He batted just 12-for-85 (.141) off righties before going on the DL.

More injury notes

• Alex Avila, on the 15-day DL since May 8 to strengthen his left knee, is expected to throw to bases while the Tigers are in Cincinnati the next couple days, Ausmus said. He hit in batting practice Tuesday and felt good. If all goes well, he's on track to start catching activities this weekend, catching some bullpen sessions in New York.

• Justin Verlander said he felt soreness after his start last Saturday, but nothing that alarmed him heading into his next assignment Thursday at Cincinnati. It was less soreness than he had after his final rehab start, he said, continuing a pattern that began when he threw his simulated game a few weeks ago. Verlander took batting practice Tuesday at Comerica Park and swung for the fences, clearing them a couple times without any obvious discomfort.

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