Wednesday, February 11, 2015

V-Mart has knee surgery, may be ready for Opening Day

On the same day the Tigers loaded up their equipment truck headed for Spring Training, they received a major message of assurance that Victor Martinez should be ready when the team heads back north for Opening Day.

Martinez underwent surgery as scheduled on a torn medial meniscus in his left knee Tuesday morning, but is expected to return to full activity in four to six weeks, putting him on track to be ready when the Tigers start their regular season April 6.

"We are very happy the surgery went well and that Victor will be ready to compete for the start of the 2015 season," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a statement.

Considering the Tigers had held off on any timetable for Martinez until Dr. James Andrews performed surgery Tuesday morning, it was a strong statement from Dombrowski.

"Obviously that gives him a chance," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said, "to be hopefully playing the latter part of Spring Training and give him enough at-bats. That's obviously the hope."

Martinez, who suffered the injury during baseball workouts two weeks ago, underwent a partial meniscectomy, clipping the torn portion rather than doing a full reattachment. Rand described it as a bucket handle tear, in which the central portion of the meniscus tears and flips into the joint.

"It was not going to be repairable," Rand said.

A full repair and reattachment could have sidelined the 36-year-old Martinez anywhere from three to six months. The different recovery periods made the difference in the procedures crucial to the Tigers' fortunes.

Dombrowski had held off on discussing how they might fill Martinez's spot until they knew how long he'd be out, saying he didn't know what he'd have to fill. With Martinez on track to be ready on Opening Day or shortly thereafter, Dombrowski confirmed the Tigers won't be looking to add anybody as a fill-in.

Martinez will be on crutches until the swelling goes down. From there, Rand said, they'll work on getting range of motion back in his knee before ramping up activity.

"Then we'll be able to work the muscles in and around the joint," Rand said. "Vic was in great shape prior to the surgery. That should really bode well for his rehab."

Still, any plans for Martinez to put stress on the knee by catching during Interleague Play early in the season -- the Tigers' first road trip includes a stop in Pittsburgh to face the Pirates -- are likely out.

"As of right now, I wouldn't plan on Victor catching," manager Brad Ausmus said. "But that could be revisited at a later date."

Campana tears ACL, likely to miss entire '15 season

Tony Campana suffered a torn ACL during a recent training session and most likely will miss the 2015 season, as announced by the White Sox on Tuesday on their official Twitter account. The White Sox did not specify which knee was injured.

Campana, 28, played two seasons with the Cubs and posted 54 total stolen bases in 59 attempts during that time. Campana, who spent parts of the past two seasons with the D-backs and Angels, was a non-roster invite to Spring Training by the White Sox, placed in the mix for the final position player roster spot with his speed, assuming that Micah Johnson or Carlos Sanchez wins the second-base job.

J.B. Shuck, Trayce Thompson, non-roster invite Michael Taylor and Leury Garcia stand as a few of the names as possibilities for that 25th spot.

Lucroy injures hamstring, will be out 4-6 weeks

A hamstring injury will sideline Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy for 4-6 weeks, the team announced Wednesday, a surprising blow for a ballclub set to begin Spring Training next week.

The announcement came via Twitter and did not specify how Lucroy was hurt. He was in Milwaukee on Monday for an examination by Brewers head physician William Raasch, who diagnosed a "mild" right hamstring strain, then traveled to Miami on Tuesday for a second opinion from Marlins medical director Dr. Lee Kaplan, who confirmed the diagnosis.

Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash was to provide further details about Lucroy's status on Wednesday morning.

Even at the more conservative end of the prognosis, Lucroy, 28, should be able to play by the time the Brewers open the regular season on April 6 against the Rockies at Miller Park. But he will miss the bulk of Spring Training, and those lost at-bats could be troublesome in light of Lucroy's experience in 2013, when he sat idle for a few weeks in March as a backup on the U.S. roster for the World Baseball Classic. Lucroy cited that downtime as a factor in his slow start to the regular season that year, when he posted a .687 OPS in April.

He rebounded in the second half of 2013, then enjoyed a breakthrough last season, finishing fourth in National League Most Valuable Player balloting. Lucroy led the league with 53 doubles while batting .301, breaking Ivan Rodriguez's Major League record for doubles by a catcher, and became the first Brewers catcher ever to start an All-Star Game. He was particularly devastated by the Brewers' late-season slide from playoff contention and spoke of assuming a more prominent leadership position in the clubhouse beginning with Spring Training.

The Brewers have a quality backup catcher in defensive-minded Martin Maldonado, who signed a two-year contract last month. The other catcher on the 40-man roster is Juan Centeno, who briefly appeared in the big leagues with the Mets in 2013 and 2014 before the Brewers claimed him off waivers in October.

Brewers pitchers and catchers are expected to report to camp on Feb. 20. The first full-squad workout is scheduled to be held on Feb. 26.