FEBRUARY 10: The news out of the surgery was positive, with Detroit announcing that Dr. James Andrews performed a successful medial menisectomy on Martinez’s left knee that will leave the star DH able to “resume full activity in 4-6 weeks.” GM Dave Dombrowski expressed that he expects Martinez to be ready to go at the start of the season.
The club had been advised that the timeline for recovery would not be known until after the procedure was started. With the time missed now expected to land on the lighter side, it would appear that the Tigers will not need to find a temporary replacement for Martinez.
FEBRUARY 5: The Tigers announced that Victor Martinez tore the medial meniscus in his left knee during his offseason workout program and will undergo surgery next Tuesday. The team did not give a timeline regarding his recovery, stating that they will provide further updates next week after Dr. James Andrews performs the operation.
While a meniscus tear isn’t as severe as the torn ACL that Martinez suffered three winters ago (thus facilitating the Prince Fielder signing in Detroit), the injury will likely sideline him for the entirety of Spring Training, and his status for Opening Day with the Tigers is certainly in doubt. However, because the injury is less severe than the ACL tear, a significant addition to replace Martinez seems unlikely.
The Tigers signed the 36-year-old Martinez to a four-year, $68MM contract shortly after free agency began. The switch-hitter was coming off arguably the best offensive season of his career, having batted .339/.409/.565 (168 OPS+) with a career-best 32 homers. His injury further clouds the 2015 outlook for a Tigers team that is banking on health rebounds from former MVPs Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, both of whom saw their production diminish in 2014 as they played through injuries (the latter more so than the former).