WASHINGTON -- The bad news for the Detroit Tigers is that they won't be able use designated hitter Victor Martinez in the starting lineup during the short two-game series against the Washington Nationals that is slated to begin here Wednesday.
The good news is that veteran Detroit manager Jim Leyland has an established switch-hitter in Martinez to come off the bench in the right spot against the Nationals, who are slated to start right-hander Jordan Zimmermann on Wednesday.
"It is nice to have a pretty good switch-hitter sitting over there," Leyland said before Tuesday night's game was rained out. "He is a lot more active (staying loose) than most guys in that situation."
Tuesday's game will be made up at 4:05 p.m. Thursday at Nationals Park. Thursday was originally an off day for both teams.
"It is a good thing to have (Martinez) coming off the bench to hit," Tigers outfielder Don Kelly said before taking some swings in an outdoor cage after the rainout was announced. "It is something you know going into a National League park that is going to happen. Obviously, he is a big part of our lineup and we will miss him being in there. But we feel confident with the guys we do have starting."
And for good reason. Miguel Cabrera is hitting .385 with 36 RBI and Prince Fielder has eight homers, 32 RBI and a batting average of .304.
Martinez hit his first homer of the season on Saturday against Houston right-hander Paul Clemens, who grew up in the Washington suburbs of northern Virginia. It was the first homer for Martinez since Sept. 25, 2011.
Martinez missed the 2012 season after knee surgery and this year he is off to a slow start, hitting .220 in 118 at-bats with six doubles, a homer and 14 RBI.
The scheduled starters for Tuesday's game will be pushed back to take the mound on Wednesday. Zimmermann is 5-1 with a 1.64 ERA and has not allowed a run in the past 18 innings.
Anibal Sanchez is 3-2, 1.82 and fanned 17 batters on April 26 against Atlanta. In his last start for Detroit, he struck out nine batters in six innings in a 6-2 loss to the Twins on May 1.
NOTES: Detroit pitcher Phil Coke pitched a scoreless inning while allowing one hit and one walk with one strikeout for Toledo at home on Monday against Rochester in the Triple-A International League. "He did alright. He did fine. He did what he was supposed to do," Leyland said. The left-hander is on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin injury ... Detroit right-hander Octavio Dotel (right elbow inflammation) is slated to make a rehab assignment. "I can't tell you exactly when. He is going to go pitch at some point," Leyland said. ... Washington manager Davey Johnson said he got good news from outfielder Jayson Werth, who did not play in three weekend games at Pittsburgh because of a hamstring problem. "His hamstring is not pulled. He feels pretty good about that," said Johnson, who added he did not have Werth in the starting lineup Tuesday because of a wet field. Johnson said there is a good chance that Werth, who has not played since May 2, could see action Wednesday. ... Johnson said first baseman Adam LaRoche continues to show signs of coming out of his April slump. LaRoche was 4 for 7 with five walks in the weekend series at Pittsburgh and is now hitting .168. "He swung the bat very well" against the Pirates, Johnson said.