Picture this: In his first at-bat on Friday against the Atlanta Braves, Victor Martinez hits a gapper.

He's fine rounding first, fine heading into second and might even have a shot at third. What does he do? If you were a coach, for that matter, what would you do? Would you automatically stop him?

You no doubt would because it would be the smart thing to do, what with Martinez coming back from a knee injury that cost him an entire season.

But Martinez, at this point, looks like he could coast into third on enthusiasm alone. To put it mildly, he's rarin' to go.

"He's absolutely in hog heaven right now," manager Jim Leyland said Thursday about Martinez. "He's really missed it. He's like a kid.

"He's just so thrilled to be back in uniform and out on the field."

It's only an exhibition game, but Martinez said he will be looking forward to the entire day Friday — starting with the 20-minute drive from his house outside of Orlando to the Braves' ballpark in Lake Buena Vista, to putting on his uniform for the Tigers' first exhibition game.

But most of all, he's just looking forward to playing in his first game of any kind in more than a year after a knee injury and subsequent surgery.

"I finally woke up from that nightmare," Martinez said.

After getting permission from the Braves to use a designated hitter, Martinez will be the Tigers' starting DH on Friday.

"When a National League team is the home team down here, they can either let you use a DH or not use one," Leyland said. "Most of them are good about it."

It especially suits NL teams to use a DH early in the exhibition season and let their pitchers focus on pitching.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130221/SPORTS0104/302210439#ixzz2LdxL8PS0