Joe Christensen, of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, reports the Cleveland Indians placed catcher Victor Martinez (elbow) on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, June 12, with an inflamed right elbow.
In a corresponding roster move, the team recalled catcher Yamid Haad and infielder Jorge Velandia from Triple-A Buffalo while also placing infielder Josh Barfield (finger) on the 15-day DL.
Martinez's disappointing 2008 season became even worse with the news that he is heading to the disabled list. Manager Eric Wedge said Martinez's elbow problem had been something he had been battling all season long. He had also suffered a hamstring injury earlier in the season. The injuries provide an explanation as to why Martinez was hitting just .278 with no home runs and 21 RBIs in 198 at-bats.
The former All-Star catcher hit for a horrid .216 (25-for-116) average in May and June. The most surprising fact of Martinez's slow start was that he had yet to hit a home run. His current streak of 212 regular season at-bats - tracing back to last season - is the longest drought of his career.
With Martinez out, the team will count on catcher Kelly Shoppach to fill in.
Shoppach has played in 31 games this year, hitting .225 with three home runs and seven RBIs in 80 at-bats. He has never hit more than seven home runs in a season, and his 161 at-bats in 2007 were the most he received in one year. If Martinez misses more time than anticipated, Shoppach could best his career numbers.
On the fantasy side, owners of V-Mart should look to stash him on a disabled list spot if they have the room. He is too steady of a fantasy option to drop altogether in any league format, despite his new injury and slow start. If your DL is already occupied, stash Martinez until he returns to the lineup.
Fantasy owners should be extremely worried and should monitor his progress closely. The best-case scenario would be for Martinez to receive rest and come back to the lineup rejuvenated, but don't count on it. The team did not indicate a timetable for his return, which means the injury could be more serious than it was initially believed to be.
Shoppach should be picked up off the waiver wire if he is available. Despite his low average, he has hit three home runs this year, something that cannot be said about Martinez. Any power production that Shoppach produces would be appreciated because of the lack of production in that department from Martinez.
Haad could see limited playing time to relieve Shoppach, but he doesn't have much value outside of the deepest AL-only leagues.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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