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Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Leonys Martin a big fan of Jose Contreras

By Richard Durrett

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There might be no bigger fan of Jose Contreras in the Rangers' clubhouse than Leonys Martin.

There's a 16-year gap between Martin and the 42-year-old Contreras, and Martin almost seemed in awe to be on the same team -- a handful of lockers away in the clubhouse, in fact -- of a pitcher he watched while in Cuba.

"He was an awesome pitcher," Martin said. "It's exciting he's here."

Shortly after speaking with the media Tuesday, Martin went over and gave Contreras a hug as the two greeted one another. Martin said he watched Contreras pitch in the Olympics and in the 2005 World Series with the Chicago White Sox.

As for Martin, he's just focused on what's happening on the field as he tries to build on last year. Martin's offseason has been in the news since stories broke that he was allegedly kidnapped and held for ransom in Mexico before coming to the United States. You can read the full story from December here.

"It's a part of life," Martin said about the impending legal situation. "I don't want to talk about it. Give me two more weeks."

Martin said he wants to prepare for the season and work on improving after hitting .260 with eight homers and 49 RBIs in 147 games, proving he could handle the center field job.

"I feel so comfortable right now," Martin said. "It was a good year for me. I feel so relaxed. I know a lot better how I can get better."