The Philadelphia Phillies have finally activated utility infielder Michael Martinez from the 60-day disabled list, but he has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Martinez was rehabbing from a broken foot he suffered in spring training when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Jim Johnson. Martinez was initially placed on the 15-day disabled list but then transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Martinez hasn’t had an at-bat yet this season although he spend all of 2011 with the big league club. He hit .196 with three home runs and three stolen bases, providing defensive versatility as a second baseman, shortstop, third baseman, left fielder, and center fielder. Martinez was initially acquired by the Phillies from the Washington Nationals in last year’s Rule 5 draft, and he couldn’t be optioned to Triple-A at all as a rookie or the Phillies would risk losing him to another team through waivers.
Martinez really isn’t needed in the major leagues this season with so many backups performing well: Hector Luna is playing well enough as a first baseman and left fielder that he has even hit cleanup recently, Mike Fontenot is tearing it up in limited plate appearances as primarily a second baseman, and Pete Orr is a solid backup second baseman who can also play shortstop and third base.
Martinez will assuredly get called up should one of the backups get hurt, but when Ryan Howard and Chase Utley return from the disabled list, Martinez will only get buried more and more in the wait to be called up.