Sunday, May 27, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tigers' Brad Ausmus: Victor Martinez heart scare 'an eye-opener'

As a former major league baseball player, Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has seen bodies break down in countless different ways.

So, while baseball players endure all types of injuries, Ausmus admitted the mentality for Tigers DH Victor Martinez is far different.

Martinez was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat Thursday night after suffering symptoms during that night's game. He removed himself from the game during the seventh inning of the Tigers' 5-3 walkoff win over the Rays.

Though he was released Saturday after two nights of monitoring, it's far from a routine injury situation.

"It's a lot more frightening when you talk about your heart than your ankle," Ausmus said before Sunday's loss to the Rays. "In that sense, not only is it an eye-opener for Vic, I think it's an eye-opener for his teammates."

Two of his former teammates — Darryl Kile and Ken Caminiti — died from heart issues, though Ausmus was not playing with them at the time.

Ausmus planned to call Martinez after Sunday's game to check in before the Tigers left on the weeklong road trip to Seattle and San Diego. Martinez will stay behind in Detroit.

His prognosis will be taken slowly when he returns.

Martinez, 38, was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

"This isn't a classic baseball DL situation, so I don't want to speak out of turn," Ausmus said. "The doctors think after about a week he may be able to do light cardio activity. I'm guessing it's going to be as tolerated after that."

There's not a treatment template for this because it's so unusual in professional sports.

Major League Soccer's Clint Dempsey ended his season last September with an irregular heartbeat but returned to participate in World Cup qualifying early this year. San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge sat out in mid March but was cleared to return four days later.

So Ausmus isn't making any projections.

"We're going to wait and see how he's doing after we get back from the road trip," he said. "If (Martinez) gets the doctor's clearance and he feels okay, he might start hitting again. I would classify hitting as light cardio activity."

Martinez is hitting .261 with five home runs and 29 RBIs this year primarily as the DH.

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