DETROIT – Victor Martinez is not in the Tigers' starting lineup for the fourth straight game as they battle the division-rival White Sox Friday.
But this time, it's not the fault of outdated National League rules.
Though Martinez sat through most of the Tigers' three-game series against the Pirates in PNC Park this week, without the luxury of a designated hitter in an NL ballpark, he did make a pinch-hitting appearance in each of the first two games.
In his at-bat on Tuesday, Martinez struck out for the second straight night and looked like he was battling pain in his surgically repaired knee. Martinez hurt his knee late in the offseason, but returned from the injury in time to start on Opening Day.
But Brad Ausmus said Friday that the day off has nothing to do with an injury. He said he wanted to give Martinez an extra day off and that the DH will be back in the starting lineup Saturday.
The 36-year-old signed a four-year deal with Detroit in the offseason.
With Martinez out of the lineup, Ausmus will give Yoenis Cespedes a day off in the field, slotting him into Friday's now-open DH spot.
The starting lineup as a whole looks like this:
Anthony Gose, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
J.D. Martinez, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, DH
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Jose Iglesias, SS
Rajai Davis, LF
Anthony Gose and Rajai Davis will start together for the first time this season after splitting the first eight games in center field.
The first eight spots mirror the lineup Detroit used in Pittsburgh this week, with Davis batting ninth instead of the starting pitcher. The Tigers scored seven runs over three games in the spacious PNC Park.