"This was planned all along," Leyland said before Sunday's game against the Braves. "We're going to get him some at-bats, then back him off a little bit, get him some at-bats, back him off a little bit."
"I'll watch him close. I've got to watch him, because he wants to go on every trip and play in every game. And to the advice of the trainers, [we're going to] just be careful. I appreciate Victor's eagerness because he's so thrilled to be back, and I'm thrilled to death to have him back."
Martinez had 17 plate appearances in Detroit's first six games this spring before his first off-day of camp Thursday, when the Tigers faced the Rays in Port Charlotte. Martinez started against the Mets on Friday in Port St. Lucie, but had just two at-bats before being replaced rather than his usual three.
Martinez wasn't in uniform either of the Tigers' split-squad games Saturday, and didn't take part in batting practice, which along with a grimace reportedly seen on a swing Friday led to speculation about his health. Given his recovery from season-ending knee surgery last season, it was bound to happen.
Leyland reiterated that Martinez is healthy.
"You're searching," Leyland said. "Victor is fine, trust me. You guys are being real suspicious. Victor is absolutely fine. The trainers told me coming in [to] get him going, get him going good. ... Get him an at-bat, back him off, get him going again, back him off, then peak him for the season. That's been the plan all along with it.
"Somebody saw him grimace the other day, so they think Victor's hurt. Victor is not hurt, trust me."