HOUSTON -- The Astros will get their first look this weekend at surging Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez, who was drafted and developed by the team before being let go this spring. He signed with the Tigers and has been terrific, entering Friday hitting .310 with nine homers and 32 RBIs.
Martinez, 26, hit .251 with 24 homers and 126 RBIs in 252 games in 2 1/2 years with the Astros, who took him in the 20th round of the 2009 Draft. He came to camp this year competing for a roster spot, but was released near the end spring camp.
"I'm happy for J.D.," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "J.D.'s a Major League Baseball player. Sometimes a change of scenery for a guy is good, and I think he's taken full advantage of the opportunity they've given him and I'm really happy for him.
"In our situation, you look at our roster moving out of Spring Training, there was no place for J.D. to fit on our roster. Once we realized that, we were going to be able to give him an opportunity to play someplace else and he latched on with Detroit and things have gone well."
Astros catcher Jason Castro saw firsthand the adjustments Martinez was making during the spring and isn't surprised it's finally clicked.
"When you get to know someone over the course of a few years and you play with them, you're always rooting for those guys to do well," Castro said. "Maybe not for the next couple of days when he's in town to play us, but it's nice to see a guy have success you know personally and have played with for a few years."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.