The Detroit Tigers announced on Saturday that designated hitter Victor Martinez will undergo cardiac ablation surgery to address an irregular heartbeat. The procedure will force Martinez to miss the remainder of the 2017 season.
Martinez, 38, spent two nights in the hospital due to an irregular heartbeat back in June, before returning to his regular role about two weeks later. He was placed on the disabled list again on Aug. 27 when the issue resurfaced, and will now have it addressed after being admitted to the hospital again on Saturday.
“I talked to Vic at length. Initially, he had some trepidation, with good reason. But after talking to the doctor, he opted to go for it,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told the media before Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Indians.
Ausmus later added that Martinez had no plans to retire, and is expected to be at full strength in time for spring training.
The Tigers expect Martinez to return to the field next season, Ausmus said.
— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) September 2, 2017
MLB.com’s Jason Beck notes that Martinez has a history of heart issues in his family. His father died of a heart attack when Victor was a young child and he’s been mindful of that as his own heart issues have popped up.
According to MLive’s Evan Woodbery, the American Heart Association describes catheter ablation as a “procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to destroy a small area of heart tissue that is causing rapid and irregular heartbeats.” It’s a fairly common procedure. In fact, Indians manager Terry Francona missed this season’s All-Star game to undergo an ablation procedure after experiencing an irregular heartbeat. Francona returned to the dugout soon after and to our knowledge has not had any further issues.
“It’s common and they assured him there shouldn’t be any long-term risks,” Ausmus said of the surgery. Of course, any procedure relating to the heart is reason for concern, but the hope is this will take care of the issue and allow Martinez to live a healthy life beyond just baseball.
On the field, the Tigers are moving forward with a rebuild after trading Justin Verlander and Justin Upton this week. Where Martinez will ultimately fit in when he returns is yet to be determined, but the main thing now is just getting him well.
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