Rumor Central: J.D. Martinez back by early May?

J.D. Martinez posted a .307/.373/.535 slash line for the Tigers last season. Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers could activate outfielder J.D. Martinez from the disabled list in early May, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

Rumor Central

Martinez, who has yet to play this season because of a sprain of the Lisfranc ligament in his right foot, took batting practice for the first time Monday.

"He really has been progressing extremely well," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters.

The 29-year-old Martinez hit .307 with 22 homers last season and was an All-Star in 2015. Martinez has an added incentive to return -- he is a free agent after the season and could be one of the top available outfielders next winter.

The return of Martinez would likely result in fewer at-bats for Tyler Collins and Mikie Mahtook, who have split time in right field. It could also impact the playing time of JaCoby Jones, who has been used in center field and is hitting just .167.

- Doug Mittler