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Martin earns another day in leadoff spot

Martin earns another day in leadoff spot

SEATTLE -- Rangers manager Ron Washington saw enough from Leonys Martin in the leadoff spot on Saturday night to use him there again on Sunday.

Martin was 2-for-4 with a walk and drove in the go-ahead run with a ninth-inning single in the Rangers' 4-3 win over the Mariners. It was his fifth game-winning RBI this season, most on the team, and snapped an 0-for-15 drought with runners in scoring position. But Washington saw more than just base hits.

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"He did OK," Washington said. "He took some pitches I never saw him take before."

Washington still isn't ready to proclaim Martin as his leadoff hitter. It is a tantalizing option because of his speed but there is still his impatience at the plate to work through. Martin is seeing 3.68 pitches per plate appearance and that ranks eighth among 10 Rangers with at least 100 plate appearances. He also has the lowest percentage among pitches taken.

"If he sees something he likes, put a good swing on it," Washington said. "But down in the lineup, he was slashing at everything."

The Rangers tried Martin in the leadoff spot last year but he hit .238 with a .301 on-base percentage as opposed to .292 with a .336 on-base percentage in the No. 9 spot. But on a team clobbered by injuries, using Martin in the leadoff spot could be the answer to an offense that has been struggling to score runs.

"I feel comfortable leading off," Martin said. "I just have to keep my mind focused on getting on base and making something happen. I have the best hitters batting behind me so it's a good opportunity to score runs. Last year I got experience leading off. I just don't put pressure on myself, just go up to home plate and do what I can do."

Said Washington, "We'll just let him hit there and see where it goes. I'm not going to anoint him yet."

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.

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