Monday, December 9, 2013
BY NOAH TRISTER
AP Baseball Writer
(Continued from page 1)
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati were playing for a spot in the Division Series. The Atlanta Braves have been assured of one ever since they wrapped up the NL East title, and they could breathe a bit easier because star outfielder Jason Heyward, who broke his jaw on Aug. 21, was back on the field during the last week of the regular season.
Heyward had five hits in a game against Philadelphia last week.
"I don't even think about it anymore with him," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I mean, he's challenged the wall. He made a diving play. He dove into second base head first. He's running around like a young kid, so there's no problem there with the jaw or anything."
Martinez also looks to be at full strength. As Detroit's designated hitter, he doesn't have to play in the field, and he is still pretty slow on the bases. But Martinez's bat is again an asset for the Tigers.
That's gratifying to the 34-year-old veteran, who still recalls those long months of rehab.
"There were some days I'd get up and I didn't want to go do anything. It was really depressing. But my family gave me the extra push," Martinez said. "I have enjoyed every single moment this season. To spray the Champagne the other day, I look back and say this is what we worked for."