Monday, June 2, 2008
Indians' cleanup hitter trying to fight through hamstring injury
ESPN.com news services
The wait goes on for Victor Martinez to flash the extra-base power that defined his 2007 season, and a bothersome hamstring seems to be the reason the Indians catcher has been unable to flip the switch.
Martinez, who had career highs in doubles (40) and home runs (25) last season, has totals of 10 and a glaring zero in those categories over 168 at-bats as Cleveland's cleanup hitter in 2008.
His left hamstring, injured while Martinez ran the bases in Cleveland's season opener March 31, is still an issue, manager Eric Wedge said.
"He's trying to fight through that thing," Wedge said Sunday. "When he hits, his lower half is real active. It all comes into play with him.
"Victor still feels [the hamstring] when he runs. It's affected his swing a little."
"A little" looks like a lot when the numbers come into play.
Martinez has batted better than .300 each of the past three seasons, but his average during the month of May tumbled from .356 to .292 thanks to a 10-for-57 slump, and his slugging percentage -- .505 last season -- is sputtering at .351. All but 10 of Martinez's hits are singles.
His lack of power has burdened the middle of Cleveland's lineup, which lost designated hitter Travis Hafner (sore right shoulder) to the disabled list on Friday.
The Indians, considered a World Series contender before the season, lost at Kansas City on Sunday to fall six games below .500.