ARLINGTON -- The Rangers were hoping to see second-half improvement from center fielder Leonys Martin. They saw something on Tuesday night when he had his first four-hit game of his career in a 3-2 victory over the Rays.
"He swung at strikes tonight," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That's what we have been talking about."
The Rangers want to see more of that. Martin went into Tuesday's game against the Rays with just one hit in his previous 21 at-bats and batting .111 in his last 16 games. Washington said Martin is just being over-aggressive at the plate and showing poor pitch selection.
"He's got to make adjustments," Washington said. "He has been slow at making adjustments. Swing at better pitches and don't try to do too much. Once failure sets in, you start to panic. When you don't have a whole lot of experience to fall back on, you start to panic.
"He's panicking right now. If he could slow it down, he'll be all right. Leonys has always had a big swing and has never had to make an adjustment. Now he has to make an adjustment."
Going into Tuesday's game, Martin had swung at 51.6 percent of pitches thrown to him. That was the 14th highest ratio among 110 qualifying hitters in the American League. Last year he was at 50.2 so his aggressiveness has increased slightly over last season rather than becoming more selective.
"All I can do is keeping working hard and stay mentally strong, concentrate on every single at-bat," Martin said. "This season has gone bad for everybody. A lot of things haven't gone well. Everybody is trying to cope as best they can."
Last year was Martin's first full-season in the Majors and he hit .260 with a .313 on-base percentage and a .385 slugging percentage. As of Tuesday he was hitting .249 with a .307 on-base percentage and a .349 slugging percentage.
"Some guys pick it up right away, some guys take longer and some guys never pick it up," Washington said. "Leonys is not going to be one of those guys who never picks it up. It's just taking him a little longer."
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.