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Martin buoyed by Rangers' confidence in him

Martin buoyed by Rangers' confidence in him

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NEW YORK -- Leonys Martin said the Rangers' confidence in letting him play every day is the underlying reason why he has caught fire at the plate.

"I feel confident because someone else has confidence in me," Martin said. "That's probably why I'm playing so well -- other people have confidence in me. It's a good feeling."

Martin went into Wednesday's game with a 10-game hitting streak and 15 hits in his last 34 at-bats. In 47 games since the beginning of May, Martin is hitting .304 with a .353 on-base percentage and a .496 slugging percentage. He hit two home runs against the Yankees on Tuesday night.

"He's just a good hitter and a good fastball hitter," Yankees catcher Chris Stewart said. "He laid off a couple close pitches and got himself back into the count. Tried to sneak a fastball inside and he got to that one. Hung a slider away and he got that one, too. Just tip your hat to him, he's a good hitter. Hopefully, we'll make a little better pitches and get him out."

Martin started the season platooning with Craig Gentry in center. But Wednesday marked the 14th straight game Martin has been in the starting lineup. Manager Ron Washington said last week that Martin was going to get a chance to play regularly, but the Rangers have no other option with Gentry on the disabled list because of a fractured left hand. Gentry won't be back until after the All-Star break.

"I think the fact that he's getting more consistent at-bats has worked out well," Washington said. "We started playing him regularly at a time we were facing a ton of right-handers and that helped get him get in a groove. Because he was going good, he got some hits off left-handers. The guy has always hit everybody. Hopefully, he can keep this up. This is what the organization says he can do."

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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