Victor Martinez is starting to hit the way a designated hitter should, and that’s very good news for the Detroit Tigers.
Martinez belted a homer in Detroit’s 5-0 victory over the Texas Rangers. He actually played first base in his game while allowing Prince Fielder to take his turn at being DH. But the Tigers want to see Martinez break through the second half of the season and he’s been showing signs of that lately.
The designated hitter position seemed all set for Detroit after he sat out the entire 2012 season with a knee injury and was ready to take over as DH. There were worries when he got off to a slow start whether or not Martinez still had pop left in his bat.
Ten days ago, he was at .242, which is not what a team contending for an MLB divisional title wants to see from its DH.
Martinez has 17 hits in his last 38 at bats and eight RBI with seven runs scored. He has picked his average up to .258 and the Tigers would benefit greatly if he keeps the bat hot past the All-Star break. His on-base and slugging percentages are also down from what they’ve been in the past. Both of those figures need to increase in a major way
The 34-year-old Martinez right now is batting .300 for his career. He needs to forget that he’s 34, and swing the bat like he has in recent years. He’s been batting in the No. 5 spot behind Miguel Cabrera and Fielder, and obviously has had a reputation for being a dangerous enough hitter to force pitchers to throw strikes to the other batters. He needs to keep that reputation strong.