Martinez Heads Out on Assignment

(Busch Stadium) The comeback trail is taking Jose Martinez to Florida as the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder will begin his rehab assignment tomorrow in extended Spring Training.

“Doing great–all activities, hitting, running, so we’ll see how it goes,” said Martinez, who has been on the disabled list since May 7th with a groin strain.

The current plan is for him to play a handful of games in extended Spring Training, then move into actual games with the Palm Beach (A+) team. Martinez is expected to play outfield and first base.

“Actually, I asked for that,” he said. “If I can get one game at first base, one game in the outfield, one game in right field, one game in whatever it is–just to get the feel of the game. I know it wasn’t too long, but you never know.”

“In extended, I’m going to get the most at-bats that I can and then other than that, I’m going to play a regular game with Palm Beach.”

During this homestand, Martinez has been a regular on the field during pregame–at first just running straight forward sprints, then along the curve of the infield dirt, and finally on the basepaths and taking batting practice. Through the process, he’s checked off all the boxes to be ready.

“It’s more in the training room,” he explained. “Those exercises, they ask you after you do it if you feel fine, you don’t feel anything? I’m completely sure that I’m 100% right now.”

DUKE CLOSE BEHIND

While in Florida, Martinez could run into a familiar face as left-hander Zach Duke is scheduled to head to extended Spring Training on Saturday. He will continue his rehab from Tommy John surgery with live pitching sessions, slowly building up to pitching on successive days and game action. Duke is hopeful for a return some time in July or August.

photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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