ST. PETERSBURG -- Victor Martinez had managed to stay in the Tigers lineup for two weeks after spraining his left knee in Kansas City. But on Monday, it was a bout of lower back spasms that knocked him out. He was a late scratch from Detroit's batting order.
Martinez was slated to bat in his usual spot behind Miguel Cabrera. Without him, Alex Avila moved up to the fifth spot in the order for just the second time this season. Cabrera took the DH spot, while Don Kelly was inserted into the lineup at first base, batting eighth.
Martinez, meanwhile, received treatment throughout the game, according to manager Jim Leyland. He felt well enough that he was in the dugout in the late innings.
"He came out real late in the game and said he was feeling much better, and maybe I could possibly use him if it came to the right situation," Leyland said. "But I wasn't going to do that tonight. I don't want to take any chances with that. I don't want to get greedy. I think it was good to rest him tonight."
Martinez is batting .326 (15-for-46) with two home runs and six RBIs over the last two weeks. His absence tests the depth of a Tigers lineup that has spread out its damage in recent weeks up and down the order.