It was planned all along.

That's Leyland said about Victor Martinez getting the extended amount of time out of the lineup that he's now getting.

Three games and four days, in other words.

Martinez — who missed all of 2012 because of left knee surgery but said as recently as Saturday that his knee feels "perfect" — was removed after two at-bats from the Tigers' game in Port St. Lucie on Friday.

Martinez did not play in either of the Tigers' split-squad games on Saturday, nor in Sunday's loss to the Braves at Champion Stadium, which is the closest spring-training venue to where he lives in Orlando.

The Tigers play the Braves in Lakeland on Monday, but Martinez won't play in that game, either.

The Tigers have an off day on Tuesday, but return Wednesday to play Toronto in Lakeland.

That's when Martinez will return to the lineup, according to Leyland, who clearly had grown weary on Sunday about questions on the matter.

"You guys have to understand, you're searching," Leyland said. "Victor is fine. You guys are being real suspicious. Victor is absolutely fine.

"It's been planned all along that we would give him some at-bats, back him off a little bit, then give him some more at-bats."

However, it hadn't been mentioned until now that "backing him off" meant for four days.

"I have to watch him," said Leyland, "because he wants to go on every trip and play in every game. I appreciate his eagerness, but we have to be careful with him.

"Somebody saw a grimace the other day, so they thought he was hurt. Victor is not hurt. Trust me."



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130303/SPORTS0104/303030330#ixzz2MaWik7mM