Tigers reacquire prospect Martinez from Mariners
Third baseman had been sent to Seattle when Detroit landed Fister
BALTIMORE -- Francisco Martinez, arguably the key prospect of the package the Tigers sent to Seattle to get Doug Fister, is headed back to the Detroit organization. The Tigers reacquired him for a player to be named or cash considerations, which the Mariners have to decide on by June 15.
Martinez was the Tigers' fourth-ranked prospect two years ago. Martinez, who was in the All-Star Futures Game along with Jacob Turner in 2011, was third baseman at Double-A Erie whose power was projected to blossom once he grew into his frame. It didn't happen in Seattle's system.
Martinez hit .227 (80-for-352) with 16 doubles, two homers and 23 RBIs at Double-A Jackson last year, and was batting just .206 (26-for-126) at the same level this season before the M's designated his contract for assignment on May 27 to make room for middle infielder Nick Franklin on the 40-man roster.
At some point last season, the Mariners began shifting Martinez from third base to center field. However, the Tigers are expected to move him back to third on a full-time basis.
Martinez is the second player from the Fister trade the M's have moved this year. They let go of Casper Wells at the end of Spring Training. Their remaining players from the Fister trade are lefty Charlie Furbush, who is in Seattle's bullpen, and right-hander Chance Ruffin, who's in the rotation at Double-A Jackson.
The Tigers have optioned Martinez one step down to Class A Lakeland starting out, but they had to make room for him on the 40-man roster. To do that, they've designated for assignment the contract of Quintin Berry, potentially ending a whirlwind 12-month stretch for the speedy outfielder.
Berry was the unsung hero of the Tigers' 2012 season, turning a midseason call-up as an injury replacement into a regular spot on the 25-man roster, and nearly made the team out of camp this spring. His season at Triple-A Toledo so far has been a perplexing plummet. His .168 average (28-for-167) includes a .106 clip in May. His speed hasn't fallen off, having stolen 15 bases in 17 tries, but a .278 on-base percentage hasn't allowed him to use that skill much.
The Tigers have 10 days to either trade Berry, release him or outright him to Toledo. He would have to go unclaimed on waivers to be outrighted.
Hunter rejoins lineup following sons' graduation
BALTIMORE -- Torii Hunter rejoined the Tigers on Sunday as the father of three new high school graduates and soon-to-be college athletes. He also rejoined them with a healthy left elbow.
"I'm good. I was good Friday," Hunter said, "but I was already determined that I was going to go see his sons graduate. I think I'm the only one in the Major Leagues who has kids graduating, so there's no rule for it."
Thus, Hunter returned to the second spot in the lineup in a ballpark where he has punished the Orioles over his career.
Hunter entered Sunday batting .311 for his career at Camden Yards with 14 home runs and 62 RBIs. He has homered at least once a season in this ballpark since 2006.
He saw the homer parade the Tigers put up on Saturday and was amazed.
"I was watching the game," Hunter said. "I was an avid fan, just going crazy for two days. And now I'm just happy to be back with my boys, my brothers, and get back on the field and fight with those guys."
Cabrera, Scherzer earn club honors for May
BALTIMORE -- Miguel Cabrera will have to wait until Monday to see whether he wins American League Player of the Month honors for his 12-homer, 33-RBI performance in May. His Tigers Player of the Month Award, as voted on by Detroit media, was a no-brainer.
As well as Jhonny Peralta hit in May, deserving some sort of recognition for his .362 average and 17 runs scored, he wasn't going to beat out Cabrera, whose 12 homers matched Willie Horton's 1968 total for most by a Tiger in the month of May.
Cabrera's 44 hits were the most by a Tiger in May since Ron LeFlore had 45 in 1976.
Max Scherzer earned Tigers Pitcher of the Month honors after posting a 4-0 record with a 3.00 ERA and 45 strikeouts in as many innings. He averaged 7 1/2 innings per start.