SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Leonys Martin is sidelined with tightness in his back but Alex Rios was in the lineup on Friday after being limited for a week with soreness in the big toe on his left foot. An anti-inflammation injection helped Rios get the problem under control but it's unlikely the soreness is gone for good.
"But it's the first time in a long time that I haven't had time to think about it," Rios said. "That's a good sign. I've been able to do everything as usual and there are no issues."
Rios is dealing with chronic "turf toe" as a result of playing the first six seasons of his Major League career with the Blue Jays. The toe problem developed from the constant wear and tear on the artificial turf of the Rogers Centre. Rios left the Blue Jays on Aug. 10, 1999 when he was claimed off waivers by the White Sox. The Rangers acquired him on Aug. 9 of last season but the toe problem lingers despite now playing home games on grass fields.
"It was been an issue for seven years and it's not going to go away," Rios said. "I've learned how to manage it and I've learned how to play with it."
Martin is not expected to be out long but this allowed Michael Choice to get his first start in center field. Rios started at designated hitter, going 1-for-3, and Mitch Moreland was in right field. Moreland will likely be the Rangers primary designated hitter during the season but will be used in the outfield this spring to increase his versatility.
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.Less