Buzz: Emotional Leonys Martin excited to start
|ESPN Insider and MLB lead analyst Buster Olney joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers, their X factors and the landscape of the AL West.
"It's an opportunity that I will never forget," the 25-year-old Martin said. "It's been a dream of mine."
The left-handed hitting Martin, who will platoon with Craig Gentry in center field -- at least to start the season -- got the start in center field because Houston started right-hander Bud Norris. Rangers manager Ron Washington said before the game that he started Martin strictly because of the righty vs. lefty pitcher-hitter matchup.
"Both he and Gentry have done a good job in spring training," Washington said. "I couldn't have gone wrong with either guy. I picked Martin. It's a day-to-day situation right now."
Martin had a terrific spring, batting .359 with four doubles, two triples and 13 RBIs in 26 games. Just like Gentry, he gives the Rangers speed at the bottom of the lineup as it flips back around to Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus.
Martin has adjusted quickly to baseball in America. He had three stints with the Rangers last season. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Round Rock, where he batted .359 and had a .422 on-base percentage.
Martin took that confidence, and the knowledge that the outfield situation was open with Josh Hamilton's departure to the Angels, and ran with it.
"I knew I would have a better opportunity to make the major league team this season," Martin said. "I came to camp with better attitude. I worked on things, felt more comfortable, a lot more comfortable."
Martin said he isn't worried about being one of the players replacing Hamilton in center field.
"I just want to be Leonys and not try to be anybody but myself," Martin said.
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