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Martinez arrives to camp early, ready to catch if asked

Martinez arrives to camp early, ready to catch if asked

LAKELAND, Fla. -- If there was any doubt that Victor Martinez still considers himself a catcher, at least part-time, the sight of Detroit's likely cleanup hitter walking into the Tigers' clubhouse Thursday morning and unpacking new catching gear might well have erased it.

Tigers pitchers and catchers officially begin workouts Friday. Other Tigers position players aren't due in until full-squad workouts begin Tuesday. That seemingly would include Martinez, who's slated to serve as Detroit's regular designated hitter. His surgically repaired knees don't lend themselves toward catching on a regular basis anymore.

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Martinez, though, played three games behind the plate last season, even though he didn't catch at all in Spring Training. Two of those starts happened in an Interleague series against the Mets, keeping his hot bat in the lineup in games when Detroit didn't have the DH slot available.

Martinez didn't catch at all last spring while working his way back into game condition following a lost 2012 season. He might not catch this spring, either, but he wants to be ready.

"Like I've said, I'm ready to do whatever they need me to do," Martinez said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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