SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Besides Leonys Martin, the Rangers sent five other players to the Minor Leagues on Saturday. Those cut included third baseman Mike Olt, the club's No. 3 prospect
, and outfielder Engel Beltre.
Olt, drafted as a third baseman, came to camp with the idea of learning to play first base, as well. He showed he could, and will continue to do both. Manager Ron Washington said Olt will get most of his playing time in the Minors at third base, but will still play first one or two times a week.
"He's a baseball player," Washington said. "He can play third base, he has a good arm and tremendous raw power. He just need to go out and play."
Beltre was sent down, but not before reestablishing himself as a prospect in the Rangers' farm system. Beltre was the Rangers' Minor League Player of the Year in 2010, but hit just .231 with a .285 on-base percentage and .300 slugging percentage at Double-A Frisco last year.
This spring, he went 6-for-24 with two doubles, one triple and six RBIs. In two previous Spring Trainings with the Rangers, he went 1-for-23.
"He has shown some maturity," Washington said. "His game is much better than it was the past two years. I think he's back to being a big part of the Texas Rangers. He handled himself well compared to the first two years. He wasn't overwhelmed. He felt he belonged."
Beltre was one of three players acquired from the Red Sox on July 31, 2007 for reliever Eric Gagne. The others were David Murphy and Kason Gabbard.
The Rangers also returned catcher Chris Robinson, infielder Greg Miclat and left-handed reliever Ben Snyder to the Minors.
Robinson, who spent the past three years catching at Triple-A for the Cubs, went 4-for-12 at the plate and is considered an outstanding handler of pitchers. Miclat was briefly in the competition for utility infielder, but has never played above Double-A.
Snyder was sent down despite throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings in Cactus League play. He allowed one hit, did not walk a batter and struck out three.
"He has done a great job," Washington said. "He just needs to go pitch. He has been successful in camp; he needs to carry that into the season, and maybe at some point during the season he can be a piece for us."