Victor Martinez’s playing career will come to an end February 11, 2019 9:39 PM

By : lai

 on Saturday when the Detroit Tigers face the Kansas City Royals.He will be honored in a pregame ceremony at Comerica Park and serve as the designated hitter. He will not play the remainder of the season.Martinez , 39, has been in the majors since 2002. He is a career .295 hitter and has hit 246 home runs. He’s been with the Tigers organization since 2011, though he missed the 2012 season with a knee injury.Article continues below ...“I think that’s just me thanking the Detroit Tigers fans and everybody here,” he told the Detroit News. “To play the last game of my career here, it’s just one of the ways to thank everybody. I think that would be fair for everybody.”Manager Ron Gardenhire believes it’s a fitting way for Martinez to head into retirement.“He’s just a special guy who has had a great career,” Gardenhire said. “Not just a good career Jose Bautista Jersey , a great career. I’ve watched him from both sides, from the visitors’ dugout and from the home dugout. I’m pretty lucky.”Martinez will be facing a pitcher who has become a Tigers’ nemesis, Jakob Junis.The Royals right-hander has recorded half of his eight victories against his team’s American League Central Division rival. Junis has posting a 1.74 ERA while striking out 25 batters in 31 innings in those four starts. He’s held Tigers batters to a .193 average.Subtract those performances and Junis is 4-12 with a 5.04 ERA in his other starts. He’ll try to torment the Tigers once again in the third game of the four-game series.In his last start against them on Aug. 28, Junis collected the first complete-game victory of his career. He struck out seven and didn’t issue a walk in the 6-2 triumph.Junis (8-12, 4.42 ERA) had his shortest outing of the season on Sunday, giving up four runs on eight hits in three innings against Minnesota.“I had been keeping the ball down and staying ahead of hitters Troy Tulowitzki Jersey ,” Junis told afterward. “(Sunday), I was behind hitters and not keeping the ball down. Wasn’t in the zone consistently.”The Tigers haven’t seen that side of him. He’s 6-1 with a 3.14 ERA in seven career starts. Junis doesn’t have more than two victories against any other team.Detroit’s top hitter this season, right fielder Nicholas Castellanos, has gone hitless in 14 career at-bats facing Junis.The Tigers will counter with veteran right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (7-8, 4.41 ERA). He, too Marcus Stroman Jersey , struggled in his last outing on Monday. Zimmermann surrendered five runs in seven hits in 3 2/3 innings against Minnesota. He’s been tagged for seven homers in his last four outings.“He was really upset,” Gardenhire said afterward. “Just trying to figure out what was going on. Part of it is we haven’t been scoring runs. He’s healthy and he’s been throwing the ball well. He’s given us a chance most night. Just the last couple have been rough.”Zimmermann has traditionally pitched well against the Royals. In eight career appearances, he’s 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA.The teams have split the first two games of the series. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Friday that third baseman Kris Bryant and shortstop Addison Russell will be activated from the disabled list prior to Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies.According to's Carrie Muskat, Maddon said he expects Bryant to start Saturday, but he did not offer specifics on Russell's role.Bryant hasn't played since July 23 due to a shoulder injury, while Russell has been on the shelf since Aug. 19 with a sprained finger.Prior to landing on the DL , Bryant was having a somewhat disappointing season with a .276 batting average, 11 home runs and 44 RBI in 76 games.The two-time All-Star is just two seasons removed from being named National League MVP after hitting .292 with 39 homers and 102 RBI in 2016.Russell has appeared in 112 games this season, and he is hitting .259 with five home runs and 37 RBI.He was named an All-Star for the first and only time in 2016, but his production has dropped off over the past two seasons.In 2017 and 2018 combined, Russell has 17 homers and 80 RBI, compared to 21 home runs and 95 RBI in 2016 alone.David Bote has been filling in for Bryant at third , while Javier Baez went from second base to shortstop with the recently acquired Daniel Murphy playing second during Russell's absence.The return of Bryant and Russell will give the Cubs considerable depth and the option of rotating the likes of Baez, Murphy, Russell and Ben Zobrist in the middle infield.Chicago entered play Friday with the best record in the National League at 79-54, and a 4.5-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.

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