DETROIT -- Victor Martinez had to fight back emotions last Saturday in Cleveland, when the Indians held a pregame ceremony honoring him for a 16-year Major League career that began with Cleveland. This weekend is the Tigers' turn to tug at the heartstrings as he plays his final games before
DETROIT -- Victor Martinez had to fight back emotions last Saturday in Cleveland, when the Indians held a pregame ceremony honoring him for a 16-year Major League career that began with Cleveland. This weekend is the Tigers' turn to tug at the heartstrings as he plays his final games before retiring at season's end.
The Tigers will honor Martinez on Saturday in a ceremony prior to their 6:10 p.m. ET game against the Royals, celebrating the switch-hitter's seven-year Detroit tenure. Given the recent trend of Martinez being rested on day games after night games, Saturday could well be his final start at Comerica Park.
While Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez will go down as the most significant free-agent signings of the late Mike Ilitch's tenure as Tigers owner, Martinez shouldn't be far behind. Signed after the 2010 season, Martinez was a switch-hitting catcher with a sweet swing whom general manager Dave Dombrowski signed to provide offensive punch to a then-young Tigers lineup.
Martinez became primarily a designated hitter in Detroit, rarely catching after a knee injury in 2011, but his bat endured. He batted .330 with 12 homers and 103 RBIs in his first season in Detroit, helping the Tigers to their first division title in 17 years.
After an offseason knee injury cost Martinez the 2012 season, he came back in 2013 with a .301 average. His power returned in 2014 with 32 homers, 103 RBIs and an AL-best .974 OPS, leading him to a second-place finish in AL MVP voting.
That production in a contract year led to a four-year extension. His numbers have been up and down since, but his .289 average, 27 homers and 86 RBIs as a 37-year-old DH in 2016 helped the Tigers stay in playoff contention until the final day of the regular season.
No Tigers switch-hitter has driven in more runs than Martinez, who entered Wednesday with 539 RBIs as a Tiger. His 1,029 hits as a Tiger entering Wednesday rank third all-time among switch-hitters in Detroit, while his 115 home runs rank second in the group behind Tony Clark.
Martinez is one of 31 players to record 1,000 hits in a Tiger uniform. He's one of 14 Tigers to homer in his age 39-or-older season.
Tigers acquire right-hander to complete Fiers swap
Minor League right-handed pitcher Logan Shore was acquired from the A's as the second player to be named later to complete the Aug. 6 trade of right-hander Mike Fiers to Oakland. Right-hander Nolan Blackwood was the first player to be named in the deal on Aug. 18.
The 23-year-old Shore, 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, was ranked the No. 14 prospect in the Athletics' Minor League system by MLB Pipeline. He combined to make 17 starts between Single-A Stockton and Double-A Midland this year, posting a 3-6 record with a 4.45 ERA in 91 innings, 74 strikeouts and a 1.36 WHIP.
Originally selected by the A's in the second round of the 2016 Draft out of the University of Florida, Shore has a 5-13 record with a 3.92 ERA in 192 2/3 innings, 182 strikeouts, 1.28 WHIP and .267 opponents batting average in 44 career Minor League appearances, including 41 starts.
Tigers coaches expected back next season
For the first time in four years, the Tigers could keep their entire coaching staff intact going into a new season. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he expects to bring his entire staff back for next year as he prepares for his second season as Tigers manager.
"All my coaches will be back," Gardenhire said. "[General manager] Al [Avila] asked me if that's the way we want it, and I said, 'Absolutely.'"
The stability could be huge for Gardenhire as he prepares to take what he has observed over the course of the season and make points of emphasis for next Spring Training.
"I love this coaching staff," Gardenhire said. "They've worked really hard, and they're good teachers."
Rick Anderson's return as pitching coach is particularly significant. He began the season as bullpen coach before changing roles after Chris Bosio's midseason dismissal. Anderson, who was Gardenhire's pitching coach throughout his Twins tenure, has moved forward with some of Bosio's teachings, while adding some of his own.
"A little change in philosophy, pounding the strike zones, trying to work ahead," Gardenhire said. "That's kind of what we've always talked about, throwing the ball over the plate and getting hitters into bad situations, getting ahead in the count. They've worked at it."
Anderson's long-term investment in the staff became apparent when the Tigers brought in top pitching prospects Matt Manning and Beau Burrows to throw bullpen sessions in front of Anderson after their seasons ended at Double-A Erie.
Jones on call for infield return
While JaCoby Jones started Wednesday's series finale against the Twins in center field, he will also serve as the Tigers' emergency infielder with Jeimer Candelario and Niko Goodrum out with injuries. Jones hasn't played a game in the infield since making his Major League debut in 2016 as a third baseman, but he came up through the Minor Leagues as a shortstop before moving to center field at Triple-A Toledo.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.