Martinez was able to join more than a dozen teammates for limited workouts at Tropicana Field on Monday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The offseason acquisition took advantage of what was the first opportunity for Rays players to work out together in more than two months. Participants were able to play catch, run, use free weights in a makeshift gym and also complete plyometric jumps and other exercises during Monday's session, which was conducted in groups of two. Although Martinez, who likely wants to get plenty of work on his swing after hitting just .179 across 11 Grapefruit League games, won't have access to the batting cages this week, Topkin reports that could change as early as next week.
Martinez should be a fixture in the lineup when the Rays face a left-hander this coming season, John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Martinez owns a career .331/.405/.570 line and .410 wOBA across 298 plate appearances versus southpaws, so it's certainly evident why manager Kevin Cash would want to work the 30-year-old into the starting nine when a lefty is on the hill. However, given Martinez's defensive limitations, the overwhelming majority of those instances will likely see him fill the designated hitter role, which some reports indicate could be applied universally during an abbreviated 2020 campaign. The Rays attempted to give Martinez plenty of reps at first base this spring, but Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times previously noted the offseason acquisition made very limited defensive progress at best before play was paused.
Martinez hit .179 (5-for-28) with two RBI, two walks and one run across 11 Grapefruit League games before spring training was suspended.
Martinez's track record at the plate over the previous three seasons in St. Louis lends credence to the notion that his spring struggles aren't lasting. That's good news for the Rays, who project to lean heavily on Martinez for designated-hitter duties this coming season, especially since his defense continued to be highly questionable before spring training was suspended, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Ideally, manager Kevin Cash will be able to rely on Martinez to occasionally draw starts at first base so that he can maximize opportunities to get the 31-year-old's typically potent bat in the lineup.
Martinez, who's already been in Rays camp for a week, is working on his defense with third-base coach Rodney Linares on a daily basis, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports.
The offseason acquisition has unsurprisingly already caught the eye of coaches with his work in batting practice, with manager Kevin Cash praising how natural and relaxed Martinez is as a hitter. The 31-year-old's ability to produce at the plate is already well corroborated from his time with the Cardinals, but he is a very poor defender in the outfield and at first base. The Rays have the luxury of the designated hitter spot in terms of ensuring Martinez's bat remains in the lineup as frequently as possible, but they are understandably going to do their due diligence with regards to seeing how playable they can make him in the field. If there were an easy fix to his defensive woes, it probably would have already been unlocked, so don't expect him to get more than a handful of non-DH starts this year.
Martinez, Randy Arozarena and a Compensation A pick were traded from the Cardinals to the Rays in exchange for Matt Liberatore, a catching prospect and a Compensation B pick Thursday night, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports.
Martinez took a step back at the dish in 2019, slashing .269/.340/.410 with 10 homers and 42 RBI over 128 contests compared to a .305/.364/.457 slash line with 17 long balls and 83 RBI in 2018 (152 contests). The slugger started 75 matchups for the Cardinals in right field, though he also made seven starts in left and eight as the designated hitter. He'll likely have to compete for playing time in right field with Hunter Renfroe (foot) in the spring, although the Rays could also elect to give him regular time in the DH slot, allowing for more power in the starting nine.
Martinez went 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, two RBI and two runs scored Wednesday against the Diamondbacks.
Martinez drew his first start since Sept. 1 and took advantage by playing a key role in the team's offensive output. He began his productive afternoon by smacking a two-run double in the third inning, and followed that up with a leadoff triple to start the fifth inning. He ended the contest just a homer shy of the cycle, but he will need more consistent playing time to be a reliable producer.
Martinez entered Sunday's win over the Cubs as a pinch hitter in the top of the ninth and laced a triple in his only at-bat.
Martinez led off the frame with his three-bagger and was immediately lifted for pinch runner Tyler O'Neill, who subsequently scored the tying run on a Tommy Edman single. Martinez has been stuck in a pinch-hitting role for almost the entirety of September, but manager Mike Shildt has previously praised the veteran's positive, team-oriented mindset despite the lack of playing time. Accordingly, Martinez has remained serviceable despite the limited opportunity, going 3-for-12 with a walk and Sunday's three-bagger as a pinch hitter during the current month.
Martinez has not logged a start since returning from the injured list Sept. 1 and has a single and a walk in seven pinch-hit plate appearances during that span.
Martinez has essentially been stuck in a numbers game, as an outfield mix of Dexter Fowler, Harrison Bader and Marcell Ozuna has performed well enough to keep him on the bench for the time being. Despite having previously been used to regular playing time, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports Martinez is taking the current situation in stride, knowing that manager Mike Shildt has to prioritize putting out an optimal lineup with a postseason berth at stake. "Of course, you want to go out and do your thing," Martinez said. "But I had chances and opportunities to go out there and get the confidence, and I didn't. So, I think this is the job I have right now on this team. ... I'm trying to get ready, trying to get ready for any situation."
Martinez (shoulder) was activated off the 10-day injured list and is starting in right field in Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader against the Reds.
Martinez advanced to playing defense during his final two rehab games with Double-A Springfield, so it's no surprise to see him back with the Cardinals as rosters expand Sunday. The 31-year-old landed on the IL on Aug. 12 with an AC joint sprain in his right shoulder and was struggling since the All-Star break with a .628 OPS in 25 contests.
Martinez (shoulder) is 4-for-7 with an RBI over his last two rehab games with Double-A Springfield and has played a combined 11 innings in right field during those games.
Martinez continues to perform well with the bat at the Double-A level, but that it isn't exactly surprising for a hitter of his talent. However, what is encouraging is the fact he's been able to return to the field over the last pair of contests. Martinez may work up to a full game on defense before activation, but that doesn't figure to be an absolute necessity, given that he's been swinging the bat well and has hit safely in all five rehab games.
Martinez (shoulder) went 2-for-4 in Double-A Springfield's win over Frisco on Wednesday while playing a full game as the designated hitter.
The game marked Martinez's first full rehab outing over his first three games at Springfield. The recovering 31-year-old has hit safely in each of those contests, but he's yet to play in the field.
Martinez (shoulder) went 1-for-2 with two walks in Double-A Springfield's loss to Frisco on Tuesday.
Martinez filled the designated hitter role for the second consecutive game and was productive at the plate. Martinez's next step is presumably to work up to playing a full game in the field, although he has been involved in pregame defensive drills this week.
Martinez (shoulder) went 1-for-3 with an RBI groundout, a run-scoring double and a walk in Double-A Springfield's extra-inning loss to Frisco on Monday.
Martinez served as the designated hitter before being replaced by a pinch hitter in the home half of the ninth inning. The 31-year-old may only need another handful of rehab games before being deemed ready for activation. Look for Martinez to return when rosters expand Sunday, or in the days that follow.
Martinez (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment Monday with Double-A Springfield, Jim Hayes of FOX Sports Midwest reports.
He played catch and took some swings before Thursday's game, and the expectation is that he will be ready to play in games at the beginning of next week. Martinez will likely be reassessed again later this weekend before joining Springfield. He could return in late August or early September, but St. Louis will have a crowded outfield in September, so it remains to be seen how much Martinez will play down the stretch.
Martinez (shoulder) played catch again before Thursday's game but won't begin his rehab assignment until he feels completely comfortable, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports. "It's a process," Martinez said. "This shoulder stuff is kind of dangerous, you have to be careful with it. You can't just go out there and throw 10-12 baseballs and get back in the game. Going out there and trying to be a hero is not good."
Martinez has also been taking some swings in addition to his throwing, but there's still no set date on when he'll begin his rehab assignment. The outfielder was going to reevaluate his shoulder following Thursday's activity and determine whether he felt prepared to head to the minors this weekend or early next week.
Martinez (shoulder) played catch Wednesday, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
Martinez is progressively ramping up his physical activity this week ahead of embarking on a rehab assignment. The outfielder is expected to head out to Triple-A Memphis for a handful of games by this coming weekend.
Martinez (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis later this week, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports.
Martinez is a bit behind fellow recovering teammate Tyler O'Neill (wrist), who'll begin his rehab assignment with the Redbirds on Wednesday. Martinez is slated to join him at some point closer to or during the weekend, meaning he'll spend several days beyond the minimum time required on the injured list.
Martinez (shoulder) progressed to taking light swings prior to Monday's series opener versus the Brewers and could begin a rehab assignment later in the week, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports.
Martinez opted against receiving a cortisone shot late last week, allowing the swelling in his right shoulder to continue subsiding on its own. The outfielder apparently made notable progress in that regard over the weekend and is now close to jumping back into game action at the minor-league level. Martinez has only been sidelined since Aug. 11, so he's likely to only need a handful of rehab games before returning.
Martinez (shoulder) has opted not to receive a cortisone shot and hopes to resume baseball activities this weekend, the Associated Press reports.
A report Thursday indicated Martinez would potentially receive a shot after the inflammation in his right shoulder subsided, but there's apparently been a change of direction with those plans. The news that Martinez may resume baseball activities over the weekend is certainly encouraging, and it presumably keeps him on a timeline to potentially return after the minimum 10 days on the injured list.
Martinez has already seen some inflammation in his injured shoulder subside and could soon receive a cortisone shot, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
Martinez collided with the outfield wall in Sunday's game with the Pirates, spraining his right shoulder AC joint in the process. The outfielder appears on track to return in the minimum amount of time from his stint on the injured list, although he'll rejoin a crowded outfield that now also includes impressive rookies Lane Thomas and Randy Arozarena in addition to veterans Dexter Fowler and Marcell Ozuna.
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