SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Leonys Martin has four hits in 22 at-bats over his first 11 Cactus League games. So the Rangers took him out of their Cactus League lineup on Saturday and sent him to the Minor Leagues for a couple of days.
The plan was for Martin to spend Saturday in Peoria where the Rangers Triple-A and Double-A teams were playing the Mariners affiliates. Engel Beltre joined him. The idea was for them to lead off every inning and get nine at-bats rather than just 2-3 in a Cactus League game.
"We're just trying to get them some at-bats over the next few days," manager Ron Washington said. "Let them pile up some at-bats and speed them up a little bit."
Beltre was hitting .333 with seven singles in 21 at-bats. He is out of options and must make the Opening Day roster or be exposed to outright waivers before he can be sent to the Minors.
Michael Choice, who was batting fifth against the Athletics on Saturday, has had the best spring of any Rangers outfielder. He went into Saturday hitting .364 (12-for-33) with three doubles, a triple and a home run. So far there are no indications he could take the center field job away from Martin. But the Rangers do want to get Martin going at the plate.
"I'm feeling better about taking more pitches," Martin said. "But I don't feel comfortable in my swing and my timing. That's what I'm working on. Nothing bad. There are two weeks to Opening Day. That's enough to be ready."
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