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Indians’ Leonys Martin recovering from ‘life-threatening’ infection

Outfielder Leonys Martin played just six games for Cleveland before becoming ill. (Tony Dejak / AP)
Outfielder Leonys Martin played just six games for Cleveland before becoming ill. (Tony Dejak / AP)

CINCINNATI – Cleveland Indians outfielder Leonys Martin is recovering from a bacterial infection that team president Chris Antonetti described as “life-threatening.”

Martin is in stable condition at the Cleveland Clinic. Antonetti provided an update on Martin’s status when he addressed the team prior to Monday’s series opener against the Reds.

Doctors determined Martin had a bacterial infection that entered his bloodstream and created toxins that damaged his internal organs, compromising their function.

“It was very serious,” Antonetti said. “Thankfully he’s made a lot of progress in the last 24 to 36 hours and he has regained a lot of the organ function. He’s in a good path right now and we’re hopeful he’ll make a full recovery. But, he has a long way to go.”

Martin played in Tuesday’s game against the Twins, and then felt sick in the middle of the night. When he continued to feel sick the following morning, Martin was transported to the Cleveland Clinic and his condition quickly worsened.

“It progressed rapidly,” Antonetti said. “It was life-threatening.”

Martin, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Thursday, is batting .333 with two homers and four RBIs in six games since he was acquired from Detroit at the trade deadline. He is hitting .255 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs overall in 84 games.

Outfielder Greg Allen was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to replace Martin. The Indians have been dealing with injuries to outfielders all season and hoped adding Martin would provide stability.

Cleveland could bring in another outfielder before the Aug. 31 trade deadline for players who have cleared waivers.

“We’ll continue to spend the month of August looking for opportunities to improve our team,” Antonetti said last week. “What impact Martin’s condition or illness has on that, we’re not yet sure.”

Antonetti expects outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, who has played in only 29 games because of calf injures, to return this season. Outfielder Tyler Naquin had surgery on his right hip on Aug. 3 and could be back before the season ends.

Antonetti stressed that Martin’s infection is not communicable and that doctors haven’t defined the specific type of bacteria or how it entered Martin’s system.

Antonetti would not speculate on whether Martin will play again this year. Martin’s wife, father, and brother are now with him at the Cleveland Clinic, according to Antonetti.

“I really haven’t thought about baseball yet,” Antonetti said. “Leonys continues to get treatment and we’re optimistic he’ll have a full recovery. He is able to communicate. He was able to get up and sit in a chair for a few hours yesterday. He’s in a much better spot than he was a couple of days ago.”


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