DETROIT -- There was a familiar face in the Tigers' clubhouse Monday that the team has yet to see during the regular season. Victor Martinez, sporting a brace that extended from his left ankle to just above his knee, made his first appearance in the clubhouse.
Martinez, who had just completed a physical therapy session and continues his efforts to recover from tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament in the offseason, appeared in good spirits as he joked with his teammates at his locker and -- only 10 days after shedding his crutches -- did some dancing.
"I can't tell you how happy I am," said Martinez of not needing the ACL reconstruction surgery, which gave him hope that he could return by the end of the season. "I definitely want to be part of this. This is something special that you guys are seeing. It's really [tough] to be out and not be part of it."
Martinez will be with the team for the series against the Royals and will fly out to Colorado next week to meet with Dr. Richard Steadman, who will re-evaluate his knee. It's not a long stay, but one that Martinez needed.
"I just get desperate watching the game," Martinez said. "I grab a bat in my house, [and] my wife gets crazy: 'Don't kill me with the bat. Leave the bat in there.' ... It's tough."
Martinez said the doctors gave him a 20 percent chance of not needing the reconstruction surgery. When asked if his doctors said a September return was possible, he responded, "That's exactly what they said."
"Doctors say there is a [good] chance to play at the end of the year, just because I didn't need the whole reconstruction," Martinez said. "Keep my fingers crossed, keep working hard and see what happens."
He also had a plan for his crutches.
"I'm going to [make] some firewood with them," Martinez said.