Tigers aim for Victor Martinez to return next year

The Detroit Tigers have given up hopes of Victor Martinez coming

back this season after having surgery on his left knee.

Tigers trainer Kevin Rand said Friday the decision was made

earlier in the week to stop Martinez’s running program.

”We’re starting to look at 2013,” Rand said. ”He’s going to

take a little time off from therapy because he has been working

since January every single day.”

Rand expects the 33-year-old Martinez to be healthy enough to

return for the start of spring training next year. He isn’t

expected to run until November.

The designated hitter is recovering from microfracture surgery

and the best-case scenario had him possibly playing in

September.

”I feel bad for Victor,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

”He’s worked his tail off. He’s about rehabbed out for right

now.”

He hit .330 with 103 RBIs last season to help Detroit win its

first division title since 1987 in the first year of his $50

million, four-year contract.

”As I told him from Day 1, we were not going to do anything to

jeopardize Years 3 and 4 to try to push this,” Rand said. ”He’s

too valuable of a guy for us, too valuable of a player.”

Martinez tore his left ACL during offseason conditioning. That

led to the Tigers signing slugger Prince Fielder to a $214 million,

nine-year contract to chase the World Series title desperately

coveted by team owner Mike Ilitch.

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