Rangers want Martin to soak up spring lessons

Rangers want Martin to soak up spring lessons

Rangers want Martin to soak up spring lessons
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If all goes according to plan, Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin will start the season in the Minor Leagues.

"If my guys stay healthy, [Martin] will get a whole year in the Minor Leagues," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "If something happens to my guys and he's doing well ... but my intention is for my guys to be healthy. It's important that they stay healthy."

Martin, who signed a five-year, $15.5 million deal with the Rangers last May, hit .348 with nine doubles, two triples and four home runs in 29 games for Double-A Frisco and .263 in 40 games for Triple-A Round Rock last season.

He was believed to be competing for playing time in center field in the big leagues against Julio Borbon and Craig Gentry. Washington said Josh Hamilton will also see action in center field during the upcoming season.

"I hope [Martin] learns how the game is supposed to be played by watching Hamilton and the Cruzes and the Murphys and Borbons, guys who have been there and done that," Washington said. "It's more about learning how to be a pro than what he has to offer talent-wise."

Martin, ranks No. 88 on MLB.com's Top 100 prospects list and No. 4 on the Rangers' list, made his big league debut on Sept. 2 and hit .375 with a double in eight games in center field. He played twice a week for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League, finishing with a .290 batting average in eight games.

"We just got to keep getting him in as much as I possibly can and let him show us," Washington said. "He's a talented kid and he's going to get a chance to play. ... We've never seen him under playing conditions. Yes, he was with us last year, but all he did was practice."

Martin, who went 1-for-2 with a homer in the Rangers' 16-3 victory over the D-backs on Tuesday, said he is ready for the challenge.

"I've been working a lot on everything, especially, baserunning and stealing bases," he said. "I'm just trying to get better at my game. I'm learning every day. The decision is up to them, and I will do whatever they decide."