Martinez could take BP next week
Rehab assignment might come as early as next weekend
CLEVELAND -- On the disabled list since June 12 following surgery for right elbow inflammation, Indians catcher Victor Martinez could be back on a baseball field on a rehab assignment by next weekend.
That was the word Saturday from head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff.
He said that Martinez is now throwing to 105 feet and is expected to increase that to 120 feet Sunday. The plan is for him to begin throwing to bases Wednesday or Friday.
"It's a bit more challenging with it being a throwing elbow," Soloff said. "His arm will be good from a throwing standpoint when he can throw to the bases, and his elbow will be good from a hitting standpoint when he can take unrestricted batting practice."
Martinez has been taking soft-toss from hitting coach Derek Shelton, and the hope is Martinez can progress to coach's batting practice early next week before taking regular batting practice when the team begins a series in Toronto on Friday.
"Hopefully, he can start a rehab assignment late next week," Soloff said.
Manager Eric Wedge said the team will take it easy with Martinez, who finished seventh in American League MVP voting last year.
"Depending on how rehab goes will depend on how we work him back into play," he said. "It won't be normal. He won't be catching every single day."
Martinez is expected to play some first base and serve as the designated hitter from time to time.
Regular designated hitter Travis Hafner will take a strength test Thursday.
"He reports feeling very good," Soloff said.
Hafner, out since May 26 with a right shoulder strain, has initiated dry swings. Soloff said those swings will be videotaped and digitally sent to Shelton and Wedge. Depending on the results, Hafner could advance to either soft-toss or hitting off a tee.
"We can be a bit more aggressive in our hitting progression if his strength is approximately 75 percent of his left shoulder or higher," Soloff said.
Josh Barfield, six weeks removed from surgery for a left long finger injury, is unrestricted from a fielding, throwing and running standpoint. He is hitting off a tee with a little tightness, which Soloff said is not uncommon. It is hoped Barfield will hit soft-toss early next week and take full batting practice with the team in Toronto before going on a rehabilitation assignment.
Jake Westbrook, who is out for the season following Tommy John reconstruction surgery on his right elbow June 12, is in the middle of a long-term rehabilitation and doing well.
Soloff reports that top pitching prospect Adam Miller is throwing the ball from 90 feet and feeling no symptoms.
"If all goes well in his process," Soloff said, "he would be scheduled to start throwing simulated games, I would say, in early- to mid-September."
Miller, who had a 1.88 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Buffalo, had surgery May 27 on the middle finger of his pitching hand to repair a strained pulley tendon.
Mike Cook is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.