Rangers give Martin opening nod in center field

Rangers give Martin opening nod in center field

HOUSTON -- Leonys Martin was in center field for the Rangers on Sunday night with right-hander Bud Norris on the mound for the Astros. Manager Ron Washington said Martin got the start over Craig Gentry because he wanted the left-handed hitter in there against the right-handed pitcher.

But Washington is still not committed to a platoon situation even though Gentry hits right-handed. The Astros have three right-handers pitching in this series with Lucas Harrell and Philip Humber scheduled to pitch Tuesday and Wednesday. Washington said he expects Gentry to start one of those games.

"I don't know how it will work, but he'll play here," Washington said. "Gentry and Martin both had great springs. You can't go wrong with either one. They both deserve to play. You can't put both of them out there."

Martin went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the Rangers' 8-2 loss to the Astros.

Gentry was on the Opening Day roster in 2012 and did not start. Instead he went into the game late as a defensive replacement. This is the first time Martin has been on the Rangers' Opening Day roster.

"This is an opportunity I will never forget," Martin said. "This is a dream of mine. It's very exciting, something I will never forget."

The Rangers were expected to start Martin in the first game. The only real twist in the anticipated season-opening lineup is David Murphy was in the fifth spot and Nelson Cruz was batting sixth. Washington said he wanted to break up his run of right-handed hitters at the top of the lineup and left-handed hitters at the bottom.

Washington said he doesn't know if that's going to be a permanent arrangement.

"I'm going to try it right now," Washington said.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.