Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with inflammation in his left knee.  

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Martinez Heads to DL with Knee Inflammation

Tuesday, May 19

The Tigers’ official PR Twitter feed reported that Martinez was placed on the 15-day DL with inflammation in his left knee.

Currently there is no timeline for Martinez to return, per James Schmehl of Manager Brad Ausmus further discussed the injury, per Jason Beck of”Victor Martinez had a cortisone shot Thursday. Felt good running Monday, but hitting obviously wasn’t any better.”

Ausmus added that Martinez did not want to go on the DL, and the decision wasn’t up to him, per Matthew B. Mowery

Martinez is one of the best pure hitters in baseball, and the Tigers can ill afford to lose him for an extended period of time. He hit .335 during the 2014 season with 32 home runs, 103 RBI and a .409 on-base percentage.

Martinez finished second in the American League MVP voting and won the Silver Slugger award for American League designated hitters.

Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post noted why a slugger like Martinez is even more valuable in today’s game with dominant pitching:

But there’s a more wide-angle reason the Tigers are making that commitment to a player headed into his late 30s who just set career highs in homers, on-base percentage and slugging percentage (by more than 50 points). Look at offense throughout baseball, at how it’s dwindling away, and consider where a player of Martinez’s abilities and accomplishments fits now. Heck, consider where he might fit four years from now, even if his abilities diminish some with age.

Martinez is a source of production in the middle of the lineup that is nearly impossible to replace, from his ability to get on base to the power and the run-scoring opportunities he generates. What’s more, he provides protection for Miguel Cabrera by hitting behind him in the lineup, which forces opposing pitchers to pick their poison.

Detroit has title aspirations this season, but the one-two punch of Cabrera and Martinez is a major reason why. If Martinez is not in the lineup, players such as Yoenis Cespedes or J.D. Martinez will have to increase their production to provide that protection for Cabrera and cash in on RBI opportunities that would have otherwise gone to the 36-year-old.

Detroit’s strong pitching staff will be under more pressure as well if the offense struggles without Martinez as an anchor.

Martinez is one of the most important players on the Tigers roster, and any championship hopes they have may depend on his ability to return to full health.

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