Victor Martinez didn't answer Brad Ausmus' call Saturday morning.
The Detroit Tigers' manager let it slide. It was because his designated hitter was in the process of getting released from the hospital and because Martinez texted him back.
The message? Martinez is feeling a lot better and was headed home, where he will stay in the metro Detroit area for further monitoring over the next week.
"The thought process is probably a week of rest," Ausmus said.
Martinez was hospitalized after Thursday's game with an irregular heartbeat. He underwent testing on Friday and stayed a second night as doctors continued to monitor him, normalizing the heart rate and searching for a possible reason as to why the problem occurred.
Martinez will not accompany the team on their seven-game West Coast trip to Seattle and San Diego, beginning on Monday.
He first reported the symptoms in the seventh inning of Thursday night's win over the Tampa Bay Rays, after reaching first base on an error by shortstop Daniel Robertson. At first base, covered in sweat, he notified first base coach Omar Vizquel of his body temperature and heart rate, before opting to leave the game.
"I didn't find out about it until really, when he came out of the game because he was playing through it," Ausmus said on Friday. "My first thought was maybe dehydration. I'm not sure the doctors even know what caused it or what has caused it. Often times, the body corrects itself on its own."
According to a sports medical professional contacted by the Free Press, an irregular heartbeat is related to the electrical signals in the heart getting out of rhythm, between the upper and lower chambers. The electrical signal could be delayed or blocked. There are many reasons why this diagnosis could occur.
San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in March and missed a week. Standard protocol is performing many tests to see if there is a serious reason behind the issue. More often than not, there is not a reason.
Martinez, 38, is hitting .261 with five home runs and 29 RBIs this season. He is in the third year of a four-year, $68 million deal signed prior to the 2014 season.
In his absence, the Tigers recalled catcher John Hicks from Triple-A Toledo and moved J.D. Martinez into the cleanup spot in the batting order, with Justin Upton behind him.
"It's a little bit scary," Ausmus said on Friday. "It's not something at his age that you generally consider an issue or worry about. That being said, I guess making it through is a little bit of an unknown factor, which is probably causing more anxiety than anything else."
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