ARLINGTON -- Leonys Martin has been working on robbing a home run in the outfield, and he thought his dream came true Wednesday when he attempted to bring back a fly ball to center field from Houston's Brandon Laird.
Martin said the ball hit his glove, but he couldn't haul it in. He sat on the warning track disappointed that he missed his chance to accomplish the defensive feat.
"I felt the ball touch my glove, and if you feel the ball, you're going to make the catch," Martin said. "Someday, you never know when you're going to catch your first home run. Don't be scared, but you never know. Maybe in the World Series. Who knows?"
Martin said he works on the timing aspect of robbing a home run during batting practice and also understands where he needs to be positioned to leap against the wall.
"I thought he had a chance at it, but when he sat on the ground, I knew he didn't have it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Because when you make a catch like that, you're not sitting down on the ground. You're rolling, you're jumping up having a good time."
It's a minor, and perhaps rare, detail for an outfielder to work on, but Martin feels comfortable as the everyday center fielder. He's described this season as an important year in his life to prove what he can do at the big league level. He's improved on understanding his positioning in certain situations or against certain hitters. Third-base coach Gary Pettis sat down with the rookie and showed him charts with tendencies of each batter and certain situations and explained why he'd shifted Martin around in center field.
"When Martin saw those charts, a light went off," Washington said. "For the last seven or eight ballgames, Gary hasn't had to do anything with him. He'll come and get the chart from Gary now, and he reads it himself. It took him all year to get to that point because the guy was in survival mode."
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.