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J.D. Martinez returns to Dodgers lineup after missing a week with hamstring & groin tightness

First start since August 6

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez returns to the starting lineup on Tuesday against the Brewers at Dodger Stadium, after missing the last seven games with tightness in his right groin and hamstring.

He’s batting fifth against the Brewers.

This is an injury Martinez has been dealing with dating back to at least July 23, when he was scratched from the lineup in the Dodgers’ series finale against the Rangers in Texas. He missed two games, then played four in a row before getting pinch-hit for in his first at-bat on July 30 against Cincinnati.

Martinez missed three more games after that before pinch-hitting in the series opener on August 4 in San Diego, drawing a bases-loaded walk in a five-run eighth inning in the Dodgers’ winning rally. He started the next two games against the Padres and hasn’t played since.

During the Dodgers’ road trip, Martinez was sent back to Los Angeles early for an MRI and received an epidural injection. Dave Roberts said Martinez was available to pinch-hit before Sunday’s game against the Rockies, but he did not play.

Martinez on Monday’s off day was spotted taking batting practice at Loyola High School in Los Angeles by Eric Sondheimer at the Los Angeles Times.

Despite being limited to just eight plate appearances in the Dodgers’ last 14 games, and 27 PA in their last 20 games, Martinez still is tied for seventh in the National League with 76 RBI, and his 25 home runs rank 10th in the league, fueling a .558 slugging percentage that is fifth in the NL. Martinez already has more home runs and RBI this year than he did last season with the Red Sox, in 51 fewer games.

While Martinez was out for the better part of two weeks, the Dodgers have spread around the starts at designated hitter. Max Muncy was DH three times last week in his first four games back after getting hit by a pitch on his left wrist that affected him more in the field while playing third base. Chris Taylor started at DH three times, but really four since he took all the at-bats after Martinez was pulled before batting on July 30.

Catcher Will Smith was the DH twice during the Dodgers’ stretch of 13 games in a row, in addition to starting behind the plate nine times. David Peralta, James Outman, and Amed Rosario all got spot starts at designated hitter in the last two weeks.

Roberts tentatively laid out the plan for Martinez on the rest of the homestand, which runs through Sunday.

“I’d love to say he’s good to go. Right now the plan is to run him out there for five in a row, then get him off his feet on Sunday. But that could change depending on how he’s feeling,” Roberts said. “Just keeping a watchful eye, and J.D. is very good about being very honest about how he feels.”