Rookie starter Martinez gets call to pinch-hit

Rookie starter Martinez gets call to pinch-hit

WASHINGTON -- Rookie pitcher Nick Martinez knew he wasn't supposed to pitch in the three-game series with the Nationals. But he still took batting practice with the other pitchers leading up to the series in the National League city with no designated hitter being used.

So, Martinez wasn't caught completely off-guard when manager Ron Washington told him to pinch-hit for starter Nick Tepesch in the third inning on Saturday. The Rangers trailed, 5-0, at the time, but Washington did not want to start using his position players as pinch-hitters so early in the game. So he called on Martinez, who had been an infielder at Fordham, but hadn't hit since playing in the Cape Cod League in 2011.

"I had my cleats on in case I was needed to pinch-run or pinch-hit, so I wasn't completely surprised," Martinez said. "They came up to me and said, 'You're on deck,' so I grabbed a bat and got out there."

Martinez didn't have his own bat. He used one belonging to pitcher Tanner Scheppers, who is on the disabled list. Martinez ended up grounding out after four pitches.

"I didn't want to swing at the first pitch," Martinez said. "I wanted to see some pitches. It happened so quickly. I saw the pitches all right. They didn't look 100 miles per hour."

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.