Martinez to Miss Six Months After Rupturing Achilles
Bob Toth | On 31, Jan 2018
When the Indians reunited once again with Michael Martinez on a free agent contract in the offseason, there were some concerns about what role, if any, the 35-year-old could have with the club this coming season.
In the ideal situation, he would have only been seen in the case of a significant injury to one of the Tribe’s infielders or utility men. Instead, a major injury and the surgery to correct it will knock Martinez out for the majority of the coming season before it even begins.
While preparing for spring training, Martinez ruptured his left Achilles tendon while performing agility exercises in the Dominican Republic. He underwent surgery on Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic, and he is expected to be set back for six months while rehabbing. That time table would take him out of action for the first four months of the baseball schedule, leaving him little opportunity to find his way to the field in 2018.
Martinez signed on with the Indians in the offseason for a fourth season with the organization. His versatility gave Cleveland a potential bench piece with the ability to slot in all over the field.
Last season, he appeared in 14 games for the Indians, hitting .364, and played in 13 more games after being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays (batting .077) after he was designated for assignment by Cleveland. He would return to the Indians organization later in the season after being cut loose by Tampa Bay and spent the remainder of the year playing at Triple-A Columbus in his third season of work with the Clippers.
Martinez came into the pro game when he was signed by the Washington Nationals in 2005 as an amateur free agent. He would be selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2010 Rule 5 draft and spent three years in their organization before signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the 2014 season. He signed with the Indians just ahead of spring training in 2015. He also had a quick stint with Boston for a month of the 2016 season after being purchased by the Red Sox from the Indians.
He has spent parts of seven years at the big league level and has compiled a .194/.243/.261 slash with a 37 OPS+ across 294 games and 621 plate appearances.
The loss of Martinez should not be felt too drastically by the Indians, who have plenty of infield depth and a shortage of available positions available on the roster. Beyond starters Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Jason Kipnis at the non-first base positions, Cleveland has Erik Gonzalez, Giovanny Urshela, and Yandy Diaz returning after getting playing time last season with the Tribe (both Gonzalez and Urshela are out of options, giving them a slight boost to make the roster). Rob Refsnyder, who has played first, second, and third bases as well as both corner outfield spots during his pro career, was claimed on waivers in November from Toronto. The Indians also added minor league infielders Willi Castro, Yu-Cheng Chang, and Eric Stamets to the 40-man roster in November.
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