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V-Mart sits, but Leyland says all is OK

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LAKELAND, Fla. -- After a steady diet of at-bats and a nearly steady barrage of hits over the past week, Victor Martinez is apparently being rested. Manager Jim Leyland hinted that he might do this earlier in the week, but the timing of it, on Saturday, was unexpected. Still, Leyland insists that Martinez is healthy.

One day after Martinez was reportedly seen grimacing on a swing against the Mets and left after two plate appearances, the designated hitter wasn't in the lineup for either split-squad game on Saturday. Moreover, he wasn't in uniform, and he didn't take part in pregame batting practice.

But he walked around the clubhouse without any noticeable issue, and nothing was wrapped or iced. He told the Detroit News that his surgically repaired left knee is "perfect."

"We're backing him off just a little bit," Leyland said. "He's had more at-bats than anybody. He's had a lot of at-bats. Victor's fine. I'm going to have to watch it, but he's fine."

As of Saturday afternoon, Martinez was not on the travel list for Sunday's game against the Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, a short drive from his home in the Orlando area.

Martinez racked up 17 plate appearances over the first six games this spring. His game against the Mets came after his first off-day of the spring, on Thursday, when the Tigers went to Port Charlotte to face the Rays. Still, when someone is coming off a season lost to knee surgery, any unexpected absence creates a situation to watch.

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