Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez was able to take BP yesterday, manager Brad Ausmus tells Evan Woodberry of MLive.com (via Twitter). That puts the slugger a bit ahead of schedule in his rehab timeline from a lisfranc sprain in his right foot. The expectation had been that Martinez would not resume baseball activities until mid-April. Detroit is obviously hoping to get Martinez back quickly, while also balancing the need to ensure he doesn’t suffer a setback along the way.
Here’s more from the central divisions:
- Reds skipper Bryan Price is backing up the organization’s promise to utilize unconventional bullpen tactics, as C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Yesterday, top setup man (and occasional closer option) Michael Lorenzen entered with the bases loaded in the third, putting out that fire and staying in to record three scoreless frames. (That’s not all; Lorenzen will also factor as a pinch-hitter.) Top baseball ops man Dick Williams has preached outside-the-box thinking for the rebuilding organization, with flexible, multi-inning relief outings representing one point of apparent focus. Top closer option Raisel Iglesias is also slated to continue throwing more than one frame from the pen at times, as he did on 17 occasions last year.
- New Brewers reliever Jared Hughes discussed his transition from the NL Central-rival Pirates with Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He wasn’t surprised when he was cut loose by Pittsburgh, the only organization he had known to this point. “They told me early in spring that if it wasn’t going to be a great spring that they might need to part ways,” said Hughes. He noted, though, that struggling in camp is mostly a byproduct of his big frame. “I’ve got long levers,” said Hughes. “I need to get the timing of my sinker. … My sinker was not sinking the way it should have been. By the end of spring I was getting groundball outs. I’d imagine the Brewers saw it, and that’s what I’m doing now in the season.” Indeed, Hughes has generated eight grounders in 4 1/3 scoreless innings, though he has also issued four walks against just one strikeout thus far.
- Another new Brewers player, first baseman/outfielder Eric Thames, took a much more circuitous route to Milwaukee. MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy details how he landed with the Brewers, identifying the statistical and scouting analysis — as well as the “old-school sit-down” — that led to the three-year, $16MM pact. Thames, who is back in the majors for the first time since 2012, is off to a fine start. He owns a .333/.429/.611 slash through 21 plate appearances, though that comes with the usual sample caveats. Thamas has also gone down on strikes eight times against three walks and has hit safely on over half the balls he put in play.