LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — On a day when two Cy Young Award winners were on the mound, Victor Martinez had a big performance at the plate.
Martinez homered off Phillies ace Roy Halladay and finished 3 for 3 as the Detroit Tigers tied Philadelphia 5-5 in 10 innings Sunday.
Just like Halladay, Justin Verlander made his spring training debut for Detroit. And just like Halladay, the 2011 AL MVP allowed one run and struck out two in two innings.
“All I was trying to do was get a feel for the ball and hit my spots,” said Verlander, who went 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA last season. “It was just good to get a feel for competition again. I don’t really start thinking about results until I am going about five or six innings.”
Verlander gave up a long double on a changeup to Ryan Howard, who had two doubles on the day. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he wasn’t concerned about Verlander’s performance this early in spring training.
“That’s just him getting ready for the season,” said Leyland, who was just as concerned about menacing rain clouds that hovered over Lakeland throughout the game. “He threw well, but he’s just warming up. It doesn’t mean anything yet.”
Halladay is going through a different type of spring. The right-hander, who has two Cy Youngs to his credit, is known for eating up innings but he struggled last season with lower back pain that forced a change in his mechanics. He missed six weeks with a strained shoulder that he said was a result of trying to pitch through the back pain. He went 11-8 but posted an uncharacteristic ERA of 4.49 and started only 25 games.
Halladay allowed only one hit but it was a long homer to Martinez, his first since 2011.
“I feel a lot better than I did at the end of last season,” Halladay said. “I am just trying to get better and not put a lot of stress on my arm. It has been a long recovery process, but I am taking baby steps for now.”
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was brief in his assessment of Halladay’s effort.
“Roy is fine,” Manuel said. “Martinez is a great hitter, so that’s not a big thing. (Roy) is already ahead of where he was this time last year.”
Martinez, who batted .330 with 102 RBIs for Detroit in 2011, missed last season with a left knee injury. He also scored twice Sunday and is batting .571 this spring with four hits in seven at-bats.
“Martinez is swinging it really good right now,” Leyland said. “He’s just anxious to play.”
Philadelphia tied the score in the eighth on a homer by Domonic Brown.
AL MVP and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera went 0 for 3, dropping his spring average to .111 (1 for 9).
NOTES: Tigers OF Andy Dirks was a late scratch with a mild left intercostal strain to his rib cage. Dirks said it was nothing serious and Leyland said Dirks was out of the lineup only as a precaution. … LHP Drew Smyly is scheduled to pitch Monday for the Tigers in Clearwater against Philadelphia. The Phillies will go with LHP Cliff Lee. … Leyland said Martinez might play first base Monday. It would be his first action in the field since his injury. … Leyland was informed that Yankees OF Curtis Granderson broke his right forearm when he was hit by a pitch from Toronto LHP J.A. Happ. Granderson played for the Tigers from 2004-09. “It hits really close to us,” Leyland said. “It’s a real shame.”
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