The Detroit Tigers announced that star C/DH Victor Martinez tore his left ACL and will likely miss the entire 2012 season.
The team announced Tuesday afternoon that Martinez likely tore it during offseason conditioning drills and he’ll soon get an MRI to confirm the severity of the injury. Noted surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman will re-evaluate soon, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
In the first year of a four-year $50 million contract, Martinez hit a career best .330 with a .380 on base percentage and .470 slugging percentage with 12 home runs, 103 RBI’s and 40 doubles in 595 plate appearances.
What’s remarkable is that he struck out a career low 51 times despite so many trips to the plate. According to FanGraphs, Martinez’s 8.6 percent strikeout percentage was the fifth lowest in baseball among players with at least 500 plate appearances, behind only Yadier Molina, Placido Polanco, Jose Reyes and Juan Pierre. The Tigers will now likely miss that production for all of 2012.
Possible replacements for Martinez will likely come from the 1B/DH market with Alex Avila more than capable of taking on full-time catching responsibilities.
Did Peyton Manning’s neck cost Jim Caldwell his job? New General Manager Ryan Grigson relieved Caldwell of his duties on Tuesday after Indianapolis endured a 2-14 season with Manning out for the entire season.
Caldwell spent three seasons coaching the Colts, going a combined 24-8 in the two regular seasons he spent with Manning before the 2-14 year without the all-time great QB. Caldwell became the fifth rookie coach in league history to reach the Super Bowl before losing to New Orleans in Super Bowl XLIV. Indianapolis fell in the Wild Card round in the 2010 season to the Jets and hopes were high for 2011 before the severity of Manning’s injury was revealed.
It’s unknown how much influence Grigson will wield in this search, but his previous role with the Eagles could make offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg a prime candidate for the coaching vacancy.
We’ve just started the season’s second half and some teams have emerged to form the league’s clear upper echelon. Here are the 12 best teams in the NHL right now, with emphasis on the season to date and recent success.
The Dirty Dozen
1) New York Rangers- Despite an odd loss at Montreal on Saturday night, the Rangers pride themselves on great defensive play and Vezina caliber goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. It’s going to be a great defensive game when Nashville comes to town on Tuesday.
2) Boston Bruins- Tim Thomas and Tuuka Rask are one and two in goals against average and Boston owns the top four spots in plus/minus. They’re the favorites to repeat as champions, though the Rangers are playing better hockey as of now.
3) Detroit Red Wings- Detroit has won three in a row overall and a staggering 15 straight at home. They barely edge out two other Central Division teams based on their seven wins over its last 10 games.
4) Vancouver Canucks- Henrik Sedin has heated up to the point where he’s leading the NHL in points and Vancouver has fully overcome a slow start to begin running away with the Northwest Division title.
5) Chicago Blackhawks- Times have been tough of late, they’re only 4-4-2 in its last 10 games, but a 4-3 win over Sunday over San Jose was impressive and they still boast the fifth best offense in the league.
6) St. Louis Blues- The biggest surprise in the top half of the Dirty Dozen is without question St. Louis, thanks in large part to goalie Brian Elliot. He’s second in the NHL in goals against average, third in save percentage and the Blues are second in the NHL in goals allowed.
7) Ottawa Senators- The anticipation of the All-Star Game coming to town has somehow lit a fire under the Sens, who have won eight of 10 to emerge as an Eastern Conference contender. Strong team play by forwards Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek have led the charge.
8) Nashville Predators- The Central Division makes up half of the top eight, and the defensive-minded Preds have shown they belong with a five-game winning streak thanks in large part to goalie Pekka Rinne and defensive anchors Shea Webber and Ryan Suter.
9) Philadelphia Flyers- The young Flyers are struggling a little bit, but they do have games in hands over other teams above them in the rankings have played 18 games at home to 25 away from the Wells Fargo Center. Claude Giroux’s high level play drives the offense.
10) San Jose Sharks- It hasn’t been a normal stellar season for the Sharks, but a struggle thanks to their struggles on offense and in stopping the power play. However, their defense has been solid enough to give San Jose a tenuous Pacific Division lead.
11) Florida Panthers- A fast start has slowed precipitously and they only lead the fast-charging Capitals by one point in the Southeast Division. The defense, goaltending and penalty kill has slipped and so has Florida’s hold on a playoff spot.
12) Washington Capitals- Alex Ovechkin hasn’t played well, Bruce Boudreau is now in Anaheim and the Caps are still in contention for a division title and a top-four playoff spot in the East? Seems like things are looking up after three straight wins and seven in 10 games.