ARLINGTON -- The Pirates had a right-hander on the mound against the Rangers on Monday night, but that still didn't bring manager Ron Washington to put Leonys Martin back in the leadoff spot. Martin was dropped to No. 9 on Sunday with a left-hander on the mound for the Angels and will likely stay there for the rest of the season.
"I just felt going down the stretch he was trying to do too much," Washington said. "I decided to take some pressure off him. He has never played into September like this."
Martin responded to the demotion by going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in a 4-3 victory over the Angels on Sunday.
"I still have the same mental approach, try to start a rally, try to get on base and try to score a run," Martin said. "I don't change my mental approach. This is September, but I'm still strong mentally. I feel confident every day and every game."
Washington is willing to move Ian Kinsler back into the leadoff spot because he feels good about Alex Rios moving up into the third spot. Rios, who was acquired from the White Sox on Aug. 9, was 9-for-21 with three home runs on the last road trip and went into Monday's game against the Pirates hitting .297 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 26 games with the Rangers.
"I had fallen into some bad habits in Chicago and had to make some adjustments," Rios said. "It's been working lately. It's about how I feel, not about mechanics. As you get that feel, good things happen. You start driving the ball and connecting with more power."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less