He's out, but better.

Better on Sunday than he was while wincing with pain on Saturday night, that is.

Victor Martinez did not play in the Tigers' 4-3 loss to the Royals on Sunday. But he hopes to play in whatever the Tigers do against Cleveland on Tuesday night.

In other words, despite the way his injury sounds — "sprained left knee" — Martinez wasn't even limping.

And since he's hitting .342 in his last 63 games, not to mention .556 with runners in scoring position since July 17, the Tigers are overjoyed they've not lost him for more than one game.

If, indeed, that's the case — which it appears to be.

Coupled with today's off-day, the Tigers feel there's a good chance Martinez will be back in the starting lineup in Cleveland.