CLEVELAND, Ohio – Outfielder Leonys Martin isn’t at Progressive Field in body, but he’s here in spirit.
The Indians acquired Martin on July 31 from the Tigers to solve their problem in center field. He played six games after the trade before being struck by a life-threatening illness that cost him the remainder of the season.
On Monday, with the Indians facing elimination in Game 3 of the ALDS against Houston, Martin encouraged them on Twitter. There’s a picture of Martin in his Indians jersey. The Tweet urged them to take one game at a time.
The Indians need to win three straight to avoid elimination and advance to the ALCS.
Manager Terry Francona said he’s talked to Martin and that he’s been in frequent contact with his teammates.
— Leonys Martin (@leonys27martin) October 8, 2018
“I’ve got to be kind of careful with what I say because he’s not really comfortable with being here,” said Francona, “but he’s been in communication with everybody and I think that’s best for his sake.”
Many of Martin’s teammates have worn his initials on their caps throughout the season.
“He’s doing OK, physically,” said Francona.
The Indians expect Martin to report to spring training in 2019 ready to play.
“He’s healing so fast that I think it’s surprising the doctors at how quickly his heart has come back,” said Francona.
Martin was admitted to Cleveland Clinic on Aug. 7 with several stomach pain. Tests revealed he was suffered from a bacterial infection that entered his bloodstream and attacked his internal organs, including his heart. After being released from Cleveland Clinic, doctors advised Martin and the Indians that he should take the rest of the season off.