BRADENTON, Fla. -- The soggy outfields in Tigertown were too concerning for the Tigers to risk Rajai Davis' sore right hamstring Monday morning, but the chance to get some much-needed at-bats for the first time in a week was too important to completely sit him. Instead, he served as a designated hitter and went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles in a Minor League camp game.
"He said everything felt normal," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said.
That should be the final hurdle before he rejoins the Tigers' lineup, likely Tuesday against the Braves at Joker Marchant Stadium.
"We have to see how he responds," manager Brad Ausmus said. "If he feels well enough, then we'll probably try to get him in there."
Don Kelly, Davis' potential platoon mate in left field, did not play Monday after tweaking his left hamstring trying to field a bunt at first base Sunday afternoon. Reports on him, however, were positive.
"He may miss a day or two," Ausmus said, "but he's expected to be fine for the start of the season."
Gonzalez trade may keep Worth off roster
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Danny Worth has been through too many Spring Training battles and disappointing endings, he cautioned last week, to get his hopes up about an Opening Day roster spot. The Tigers' trade for Alex Gonzalez on Monday might well prove to be the latest example why.
Until the deal, Worth was in a battle with Hernan Perez for a timeshare at shortstop with Andrew Romine. Gonzalez's arrival likely makes the battle moot. Like Worth and Perez, Gonzalez bats right-handed, likely leaving Romine with the big club to share starts.
Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski chose his words carefully when asked about Worth's status after the trade.
"I don't really want to get into any other individual players at this time," Dombrowski said. "We haven't really talked to anybody."
Worth is out of Minor League options, but as a non-roster player, the Tigers don't need to option him to send him to Triple-A Toledo. Barring a major surprise, it would appear Worth's fourth straight solid spring -- he's batting .302 (13-for-43) with five doubles, a home run and 10 RBIs -- will land him back at Triple-A Toledo.
"He's had a solid spring," Dombrowski said.
Tigers sign Martinez to Minors deal, add outfield depth
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Tigers have been looking for outfield depth for most of the spring, even before losing Andy Dirks for three months to back surgery. J.D. Martinez doesn't fill Dirks' role, because he bats right-handed, but he adds some depth.
The Tigers signed Martinez to a Minor League contract on Monday, just two days after the Astros gave him his release. He was already in Minor League camp at Tigertown on Monday morning.
Detroit had shown interest in Martinez in the past, including trade talks at the most recent Winter Meetings. The 26-year-old Miami native broke in with Houston midway through the 2011 season, batting .274 with a .742 OPS and 35 RBIs in 226 plate appearances, and was a semi-regular player in 2012 before falling off last year.
He came off a strong winter ball season in Venezuela, batting .312 with six home runs in 24 games, but went just 3-for-18 with the Astros this spring.
Martinez would likely slot in at Triple-A Toledo, likely playing alongside Daniel Fields and Ben Guez. He gives Detroit some organizational depth if Tyler Collins makes the Opening Day roster as a left-field option.
Anibal throws in Minors game, on track for return
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Tigers will open the season with at least three prominent players on the disabled list. It does not appear Anibal Sanchez will be one of them. He threw 71 pitches in a Minor League camp game Monday morning, putting him on track to open the season in the Tigers' rotation.
"We have to see how he feels in the morning," manager Brad Ausmus said. "It's the day after sometimes that's more important than the day of."
Sanchez allowed a run on seven hits over four innings, walking one and striking out four. The results, however, weren't important. His health was. He had been scratched from his start a week ago with right posterior shoulder inflammation, and received a cortisone shot as part of the treatment.
Sanchez hadn't pitched in a game since March 12. His shoulder issues, while concerning, weren't all that unusual for him. He had a similar issue last June that landed him on the disabled list for a couple weeks, but he pitched fine the rest of the season.
As long as Sanchez feels fine on Tuesday, he's scheduled to start the Tigers' exhibition game against the Nationals in Washington on Saturday. That would put him on track for the third game of the regular season next Thursday against the Royals at Comerica Park.