MINNEAPOLIS -- The clock is ticking against Victor Martinez's chances for a return in 2012.

Martinez continues to work toward being able to make that return, but reports from Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand don't bode well.

"He's just doing single leg strengthening until he reaches a point where they feel comfortable starting a running progression," Rand said. "He's basically running out of time."

Martinez, who tore his left anterior cruciate ligament during offseason workouts in January, underwent microfracture surgery later that month. He was initially expected to have no chance to play this season and undergo reconstructive surgery in April, but the doctor treating him decided his knee healed enough to not require it.

So the 33-year-old instead underwent a less serious procedure to assist in the healing process, thus restoring some hope for him to play this year.

"We were hopeful," Rand said. "I was hopeful at the point in time at the end of July that he would test out a little bit better than what he did. Unfortunately, you just don't know in those instances."

Martinez hit .330 with 103 RBIs for Detroit in 2011. He is signed with the club through '14.

"To me, I'm looking at this from the standpoint -- we have 2013, 2014," Rand said. "I'd love to have him here. But by the same token, you can't put him at risk for those two years."

Anibal not finding same results in AL

MINNEAPOLIS -- Anibal Sanchez's first full-time foray into the American League hasn't gone particularly well.

The right-hander is 1-3 with a 7.97 ERA in four starts since the Tigers acquired him from the Marlins on July 23. He was 5-7 with a 3.94 ERA for Miami before the trade.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he looks at a couple of factors when pitchers come over from the National League.

"The one point -- the DH -- that's a huge factor," Leyland said. "But I also look at the other point. A lot of teams haven't seen these guys. So that should be [the pitcher's] advantage."

That perceived advantage hasn't manifested itself in Sanchez's performance, at least not yet. While his results against designated hitters don't entirely explain his struggles, he hasn't fared well. The four he has faced since joining the Tigers -- Justin Morneau (Twins), Eric Chavez (Yankees), Jose Lopez (Indians), and Colby Rasmus (Blue Jays) -- have gone a combined 4-for-10 with 4 RBIs against him.

Meanwhile, Sanchez made easy work of opposing hurlers in the NL. Pitchers hit .103 against him with only three hits in 29 at-bats when he was with the Marlins this season.

Sanchez has also struggled to go deep into games for Detroit, with none of his outings spanning more than six innings.

"I know the American League has the DH," Sanchez said. "... But no matter who's there, I have to make some pitches. I have to figure out how to keep in control and go deep into games."

As far as Leyland is concerned, keeping the ball down would be a good start. Too many of Sanchez's pitches have caught the higher portions of the strike zone, evidenced by the five home runs he's allowed in 20 1/3 innings with the Tigers.

"I didn't know Sanchez before we got him," Leyland said. "You have to wait and look. So far, he hasn't really gotten the ball down. I certainly know that he's a better pitcher than what he's shown so far. We just have to keep looking and see what happens."

Putkonen comfortable in third stint with Detroit

MINNEAPOLIS -- Luke Putkonen is hoping his third stint with the Tigers this season is the charm.

The rookie right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Toledo prior to Tuesday's game against the Twins. Detroit optioned reliever Duane Below to Toledo after Monday's 9-3 loss.

Putkonen said he feels more comfortable with the big league club after spending time with the Tigers earlier this season. He posted an 8.59 ERA over 7 1/3 innings in six games during his previous two stints with Detroit.

"It's good -- a little experience helps," he said. "I still don't want to ever think [about] it, I just want to go out and pitch.

"I kind of know some of the guys by now, so it's a little more comfortable."

The 26-year-old owns a 4.68 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 50 innings for Toledo this season. Tigers manager Jim Leyland described Putkonen as an innings eater, someone who can throw two or three innings at a time for Detroit if necessary.

"I just want to keep doing what I've been doing," Putkonen said. "I don't want to do anything different. I went down there [to Toledo] and worked on the location of my pitches and just got ready to pitch."