LAKELAND, Fla. -- The first warmup for Victor Martinez behind the plate will come Saturday. Manager Brad Ausmus has his regular designated hitter written into the starting lineup at catcher for the game against the Astros.
Martinez will catch American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. The two worked together last August in one of the two games Martinez caught against the Mets in Interleague Play. It's the anticipation of Interleague Play in a few weeks that has Ausmus getting Martinez ready now.
Martinez will bat leadoff Saturday so that he can get the number of at-bats he needs without having to catch longer than he or the Tigers want. Ian Kinsler, who has batted leadoff regularly this spring, will be fifth.
Ausmus indicated Martinez will probably catch a couple more games by the time camp breaks in two weeks. The Tigers have Interleague Play early, facing the Dodgers and Padres on the road in the second week of the season, so Martinez will have to play a position if he's going to start a game or two on that trip.