JD Martinez exits Tigers-Royals game with back tightness

September 28, 2016: Detroit Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) celebrates hitting a ground-rule double during the fifth inning of a regular season game between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers played at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI.
Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire

Detroit Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez, one of the most prized offensive chips expected to be available at this year’s trade deadline, exited Monday’s game against the Kansas City Royals with back tightness in the sixth inning.

Martinez started in right field and was 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout before exiting the contest. Alex Presley replaced him in right field.

The 29-year-old outfielder has reportedly drawn interest from contenders like the Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Kansas City Royals as the Tigers sit in fourth place in the American League Central, six games back of first place.

The Dodgers have also expressed interest in left-hander Justin Wilson, as the Tigers covet the Dodgers’ top outfield prospect, Alex Verdugo. Martinez is set to become a free agent this offseason after signing a two-year, $18.5 million extension with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season.

Martinez entered Monday slashing .308/339/.636 with 16 home runs and 39 RBI in 56 games. He missed more than a month to open the season due to a foot sprain.

The one-time All-Star drove in seven runs this weekend on his way to being named last week’s American League Player of the Week — it’s the fourth time he’s won a Player of the Week award in his career. The Tigers signed Martinez in March 2014 after he was released by the Houston Astros, who took him in the 20th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. In four seasons with the Tigers, he’s slashed .301/.361/.552 with 99 home runs and 285 RBIs in 457 games.

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