V-Mart returns with two hits, rare two K's

V-Mart returns with two hits, rare two K's

DETROIT -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus got his veteran cleanup hitter back during Friday's 9-3 loss to the Indians, with Victor Martinez's return from his back injury. He had an odd combination of stats in his first game since July 4.

Martinez's two strikeouts marked just his third multi-strikeout game all season. Two of them have come in games started by Cleveland's Trevor Bauer, whose two strikeouts Friday gave him three of Martinez's 25 strikeouts this season.

On the flip side, Martinez's two singles marked his 31st multi-hit game of the season in 81 games played.

"You don't see him strike out a lot," Ausmus said, "but I'll take two hits from Victor every night."

He'd take it again Saturday. The question is whether Martinez will have two chances at it.

Though Martinez said he's pain-free after lingering left side and back pain sidelined him for most of July, Ausmus wants to proceed cautiously to avoid aggravating the injury. Ausmus told Martinez before the game to conserve his swings in batting practice and between at-bats as designated hitter.

After Friday's loss, Ausmus said he was still weighing how to use Martinez in Saturday's day-night doubleheader.

"He said he felt great. I talked to him after the game," Ausmus said. "He wants to play both tomorrow, but we'll see how that goes. That may be a decision in progress."

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