Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez suffered a sprain in his mid-right foot while making a catch on Saturday and left the game after just an inning. (Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press has the details.) X-rays were negative and Martinez will be re-evaluated on Sunday before the club decides that any further tests are necessary. He was seen on crutches and left the ballpark in a walking boot, though Martinez told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jason Beck) that “it’s good that I’m able to move on it.” Needless to say, losing Martinez for any extended length of time would jeopardize both the Tigers’ lineup and Martinez’s chances at a big free agent contract next offseason as one of the top players on the open market.
Here’s more from around the American League…
- Dustin Ackley has an opt-out date near the end of Spring Training in his minor league deal with the Angels, the utilityman tells Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, though he hasn’t decided whether he’ll exercise the clause or remain with the Halos’ Triple-A club. Ackley’s choice is complicated by the fact that he has yet to play the field this spring as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery. The veteran tells Fletcher that he can play first base and swing more or less normally, though he isn’t yet able to handle the throwing involved with second base or the outfield. Ackley hopes he can “at least give them [the Angels] some games defensively before camp is over.”
- Michael Kopech was one of the major pieces the White Sox acquired in the Chris Sale trade, and Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago opines that Kopech could follow Sale’s career trajectory by breaking into the bigs as a reliever. The White Sox eased Sale into the majors by using him out of the bullpen in his first two seasons before unleashing him into the rotation, where Sale emerged as one of baseball’s best starters. Kopech only turns 21 in April and has yet to pitch above high-A ball, though if he continues to impress in the minors, Chicago may be tempted to get him to the big leagues by 2018 as a reliever.
- The Red Sox face a number of pressing questions as they head into the season, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com writes, including some injury concerns for key arms like David Price, Drew Pomeranz and Tyler Thornburg. If these pitchers have to miss time in April, that could be particularly difficult for the club given that Boston faces a tough schedule over the first six weeks, including a lot of division games and tough inter-league matchups against the Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates. As Gammons notes, this could add up to a slow start for the Red Sox, which will only add to the pressure for a team that is expected to challenge for a World Series.
- Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda has already experienced a lot of ups and downs in his career, in no small part due to his struggles with the language barrier, as ESPN’s Andrew Marchand details. Pineda came to MLB with little formal education and virtually no knowledge of English or American culture, which led to some inevitable growing pains (such as Pineda’s infamous suspension for using pine tar in April 2014). The piece is well worth a full read, as it chronicles Pineda’s rise to the majors and the problems that he and many other foreign-born players face upon being thrust into the pressurized environment of pro baseball.