DETROIT -- Remember the Spring Training hints about Victor Martinez possibly catching in a game this season? The Tigers aren't ruling it out. But for now, it would have to be in an emergency.
Alex Avila's deep forearm contusion doesn't present such an emergency scenario. Though Avila could be ready to catch again in a matter of days, it was a safer move to put him on the 15-day disabled list and call up Bryan Holaday.
"You can catch Victor, sure," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But that would be [as] a third guy."
In other words, they wouldn't feel comfortable going with Martinez as the primary backup to Brayan Pena, even for a few days.
Part of the problem is roster management. Since Martinez is the everyday designated hitter, the Tigers would have to give up the DH slot to move him behind the plate in the middle of a game. Leyland was able to maneuver that setup in 2011, when Avila was the primary catcher, but Pena arguably presents a different scenario.
The other problem, of course, is that Martinez hasn't caught in a game since Aug. 4, 2011, before he tweaked his knee a few days later in Kansas City.
That doesn't necessarily rule out Martinez catching at a National League park near season's end, but it's not a scenario they'd prefer to encounter.
"If it was a total emergency, he would probably go back there," Leyland said. "I'm sure he would go back there, he'd probably love it. But I'm trying to avoid that if I can."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.