Martin gains US residency in midst of strong spring

Martin gains US residency in midst of strong spring

MESA, Ariz. -- These are heady times for outfielder Leonys Martin. He has gained he US residency, and he is going to be with the Rangers on Opening Day after playing well so far this spring.

Martin returned from Miami on Tuesday, one day after receiving residency in the Unites Sates. Martin is a native of Cuba but left that country in 2010. He had family and friends with him at the ceremony. Due to some confusion, it was initially thought that Martin had gained US citizenship.

"I'm very happy," Martin said. "This gives me piece of mind. I'm so glad it worked out."

Baseball is also working out for Martin. He went into Tuesday's game with the Cubs hitting .359 (14-for-39) for the spring with two doubles, two triples and seven RBIs. He has also played well defensively, and the Rangers are preparing to open the season with him as one of their center fielders.

Right now it appears as if Martin will share the job with Craig Gentry, who has also had a good spring. But Martin has shown enough to prove to doubters that he is ready for the big leagues.

"We're going to have some trials and tribulations," manager Ron Washington said. "But as we move through the season, we expect him to become a consistent professional just like everybody else. He's getting better but he has to keep working, because he doesn't have anything figured out and we're going to make sure he doesn't start thinking he has everything figured out. He's going to become a professional under my watch."

Martin, who signed with the Rangers on May 4, 2011, has played in 24 games for the Rangers over parts of the past two seasons, hitting .204 (11-for-54) with six doubles, two triples and three stolen bases.

He has played in 128 Minor League games, hitting .323 with 101 runs scored, 34 doubles, seven triples, 16 home runs and 84 RBIs. He also has 29 stolen bases, a .388 on-base percentage and a .503 slugging percentage.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.