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Productive Martin rewarded with regular playing time

Productive Martin rewarded with regular playing time

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Productive Martin rewarded with regular playing time

ST. LOUIS -- The Rangers' platoon arrangement in center field has come to an end. Leonys Martin is getting a chance to play regularly.

Martin was in center on Friday night with left-hander Tyler Lyons on the mound for the Cardinals. Craig Gentry has been starting against lefties, but Martin also started on Wednesday against Athletics left-hander Tommy Milone.

"Martin is getting to play because he's swinging the bat well," manager Ron Washington said. "Gentry is still in the mix, but I'm riding the hot bat. Martin is a young guy, he's only going to get better by playing. So I decided to run him out there and see what happens. He's doing a good job."

Martin took a six-game hitting streak into Friday's game with nine hits in his last 19 at-bats. He was also hitting .298 with a .452 slugging percentage over his past 30 games. Gentry, on the other hand, was hitting .121 in his last 17 games and had just two extra-base hits in his last 41 games. He is also dealing with a bruised hand after getting hit by a pitch on Tuesday.

While Martin has been seeing regular playing time, Washington said he is not ready to declare him an "everyday" player in the same manner as right fielder Nelson Cruz.

"I'm not ready to stamp him with that," Washington said. "He's playing regularly. We'll see where it goes."

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.

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