That January day when we learned of Victor Martinez's knee injury was a worrisome one. The Tigers were coming off their first Central Division title, and optimism about the upcoming season was easy to find. But when you take one of the best batters out of the middle of the lineup, there's a big hole to replace.

We know today that the big but costly Prince Fielder was able to step in fine, and the season turned out well enough with a World Series appearance. Yet all year long, you couldn't help but wonder what the Tigers' lineup would have been like with Martinez in it, too. Now, we'll find out.

In 2011, Martinez has an incredible, though hard to duplicate, first season with the Tigers. He batted a career-best .330 with a .380 on-base percentage. His power was off a bit, but hitting behind Miguel Cabrera he took care of situational hitting. He excelled at two-strike batting, too. Martinez also led the team in the percentage of runners on base driven in. Put him into the middle of the lineup with Cabrera and Fielder, and you've got a recipe for disaster for opposing pitchers.

But first we have to find out what kind of condition Martinez is in. We'll learn that during the next six weeks or so of spring training.

So far the answer seems positive. Well, mostly.