Guess who’s back, back again. Michael’s back, tell a friend.
The news came with little surprise or fanfare as the Cleveland Indians and Michael Martinez have reunited once again as the utility man was inked to a minor league contract on Sunday. The 34-year-old will report to Triple-A Columbus.
Martinez has become a security blanket used more often than some might have hoped in recent seasons as he has appeared at the Major League level in each of the last three seasons for the Indians. Early season injuries led to the seven-year veteran earning a spot on the roster out of spring camp to start the 2017 campaign. He worked primarily as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner, starting just twice in 14 appearances while on the roster into the second week of May.
The Indians designated Martinez for assignment on May 14 when the club called up Erik Gonzalez to serve a similar role on the roster and sent Martinez to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations on May 18. He had hit .364 (4-for-11) in a limited sample size at the plate while logging innings at second and third base, shortstop, and center field for the Indians this season. In addition, he made his Major League pitching debut, giving up a hit in a scoreless inning.
Martinez appeared in 13 games for the Rays over the next month, making five starts while playing second base, third base, and left field for Tampa. He registered at least one plate appearance in all but one game, hitting .077 (2-for-26) with two singles, three walks, and ten strikeouts before being designated for assignment to make room for third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who had been acquired in a trade by the Rays from the Oakland Athletics several days earlier.
Martinez refused his outright assignment to Triple-A Durham and elected to become a free agent, creating the opportunity for him to return again to the Cleveland organization.
He signed with the Indians initially in February of 2015 and played 16 games for the Indians that season while spending the bulk of the year at Columbus. He got into 32 games with Cleveland in two separate stints with the club last season, around a month spent in Boston after being purchased by the Red Sox following his July designation for assignment by the Indians.
He began his professional career in 2005 when he was signed as an amateur free agent by the Washington Nationals. He was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2010 Rule 5 draft and fulfilled the requirements to remain with the club. He stayed on the eastern side of Pennsylvania through the 2013 season before moving west to the Pittsburgh organization for 2014.
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