6/30/2014 7:33 P.M. ET
V-Mart scratched with soreness around back
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Victor Martinez showed no signs of injury when he walked into the Tigers' clubhouse at Comerica Park Monday afternoon, nor when he began pregame batting practice. Once he mentioned feeling soreness around his back, however, his manager wasn't taking any chances.
"He didn't want to come out," Brad Ausmus said. "He took BP and he looked OK, but I just decided that I didn't want to risk losing Vic for an extended period of time."
Thus, Martinez was scratched from the Tigers' lineup for the opener vs. the A's, his first time out of the starting nine this season. Martinez hadn't missed a start since the Tigers' regular-season finale last year, when Henderson Alvarez no-hit them.
With Martinez out, J.D. Martinez got another game. The outfielder was originally slated for his first day out of the lineup in two weeks, with Rajai Davis and Torii Hunter starting in the corner-outfield spots. Instead, Martinez batted cleanup as the designated hitter.
It does not appear to be a serious injury for Martinez, nor a long-running one.
"Today was the first time I'd heard about it," Ausmus said. "He said he felt it a little bit yesterday and he felt it again today, so I just decided it would be better to take him out. Like I said, he didn't want to come out. We can't lose Victor for an extended period."
The scratch cost Martinez his chance to hit against A's starter Scott Kazmir, against whom he's 12-for-36 for his career. Martinez, by contrast, was 0-for-6 off Kazmir entering the night.
Cabrera yet to make decision about Derby
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera joked Monday that after the weekend series he had in Houston, he has no business taking part in the All-Star Home Run Derby. That still didn't stop American League Derby captain Jose Bautista from asking him about it.
The Gillette Home Run Derby will take place at Target Field in Minneapolis on Monday, July 14, a day before the All-Star Game.
Cabrera said he has heard from Bautista about the annual event, but he doesn't have an answer at this point.
"I want Victor [Martinez] to do it," Cabrera said.
That was news to Martinez, whose 20 home runs entering Monday topped Cabrera's total by seven and ranked fourth in the American League behind Jose Abreu, Nelson Cruz and Edwin Encarnacion. Cabrera doesn't have an answer, either, in part because he doesn't know if he's going to the festivities.
"I have to see if I'm on the team," Martinez said.
If Martinez makes the All-Star roster, Cabrera would like to give him his spot.
Cabrera is a shoo-in for the Midsummer Classic, his lead up to 1.5 million votes for the starting nod at first base. However, he has not been a regular participant in the Derby. Cabrera last took his swings in the 2010 Derby at Anaheim, though he has been invited several times since. He declined an invitation last year due to concerns about a sore back, the start of injuries that hampered him the rest of the season.
Cabrera's only other Derby was 2006 in Pittsburgh as a Florida Marlin.
Jackson logs brief stint in nine-hole vs. Kazmir
DETROIT -- A day after Austin Jackson struck out three times and hit into a double play in his return to the leadoff spot, manager Brad Ausmus said he was prepared to give him another shot atop the lineup Monday. A look at the batter-pitcher matchups changed his mind.
So instead of leading off, Jackson batted ninth for just the second time in his career. The other time was May 1, 2011, in his second Major League season.
Essentially, Ausmus said, he flip-flopped Jackson with Rajai Davis in the batting order. Ausmus doesn't expect to keep Jackson there.
"Just for today," Ausmus said. "Before I looked at the numbers, I was going to hit Austin there again at leadoff, but I just decided that the way Raj has played against [A's starter Scott] Kazmir, that it would be a good spot for him to lead off."
Davis was 9-for-18 off Kazmir entering Monday, with three doubles, a triple and a home run.
• Andy Dirks could begin a Minor League rehab assignment sometime in the next week or so after having his rehab process slowed in recent days.
Dirks' setback in his rehab from back surgery was caused by hamstring tightness, not back soreness, according to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. Dirks felt fine Monday, Rand said, and is slated to take live batting practice Wednesday in Florida.
• Joel Hanrahan continues to rebuild arm strength through his throwing program in Florida as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery, according to Rand.
"It looks like we're going to hopefully be putting him in a bullpen session during this week," Rand said.
• Ian Krol threw a bullpen session Monday for the second time in three days as he heads toward a relatively quick return from the left shoulder inflammation that landed him on the 15-day disabled list a week ago. Rand said it's uncertain whether Krol will require a Minor League rehab appearance.