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Injured Martinez plans on playing winter ball

Injured Martinez plans on playing winter ball

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Injured Martinez plans on playing winter ball

HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez can take a glance around him and understand he's going to have to open some eyes to be a part of the team going forward. Players like Robbie Grossman, Brandon Barnes, L.J. Hoes and Chris Carter will be pushing for playing time, along with Minor League standout George Springer.

That's why Martinez, on the disabled list since July 27 with a left wrist sprain, plans to head to winter ball this offseason to try to make up for lost time -- and put up some numbers. Martinez is still recovering from his injury and will head to Florida on Monday to continue his rehab while the team is on the road.

"That's really what I need to do," he said. "I know I have to play winter ball this year. I'm looking and trying to find places to go out and stuff like that."

Martinez hurt his left hand at the end of last season, spent most of the winter recovering and came to Spring Training without having swung the bat very much. He had a good spring but only made the Opening Day roster because outfielder Fernando Martinez was injured just as camp broke.

He was hitting .256 with seven homers and 36 RBIs in 78 games before being injured in July.

"The reality was last year I hurt my hand, and I came to Spring Training [this year] and still hit like .300 and I didn't make the team," Martinez said. "I wasn't able to pick up a bat all offseason. I feel if I have a chance to make a team next year, I'm going to have to put numbers in winter ball and do something to get the at-bats and try to get the attention."

Martinez is hoping to start swinging a bat in early September, with hopes of getting some rehab time in the Minor Leagues. The Astros' top six Minor League affiliates were in first place earlier this week, so he'll have plenty of options.

"If I knew I had a spot on the team and knew it was a guarantee, I would just rest and not really worry about [winter ball]," he said. "I would start getting ready for next year. I don't feel like I have that luxury. I have to go do something to try to catch their attention again."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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