Texas Rangers: Matt Harrson

Buzz: Speedy Martin, Gentry will continue to split time

April, 11, 2013
4/11/13
9:14
PM CT
SEATTLE -- Don't call it a platoon. Call it welcomed depth, with speed to burn.

That's how Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington explained his intent to continue sharing playing time between Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry in center field.

Washington started Martin and batted him ninth Thursday night against Seattle right-handed ace Felix Hernandez in the opener of a four-game series with the Mariners at chilly Safeco Field. Because he bats left-handed, Martin traditionally would get most of the starts against right-handers.

But this is no traditional arrangement.

Washington values Gentry for his speed and defense as much as he does Martin for the same traits. So he intends to start the right-handed Gentry against one of Seattle’s right-handers scheduled to start in this series. That could be Friday against Hisashi Iwakuma -- when Yu Darvish goes for Texas in the 10th major league game started by two Japanese-born pitchers -- or it could be Sunday. The Mariners’ scheduled starter for the series finale is struggling rookie right-hander Brandon Maurer, though Seattle traded on Thursday for veteran right-handed starter Aaron Harang.

With Seattle starting left-hander Joe Saunders on Saturday, Washington is looking at getting the 29-year-old Gentry consecutive starts.

“He’s an exciting guy, man,” Washington said of the Rangers’ 10th-round draft choice in 2006 who spent all of last season with Texas for the first time in his career.

“I don’t want to look at it as a platoon. ... I’m just fortunate enough to have two guys. I have to figure out ways to get both guys in there. We’ve only played nine games. They are both going to play a lot of baseball. I just hope they don’t get mentally fried trying to act like they are upset because they are not playing.

“I am going to get them all playing time, I really am. I’m fortunate that I have two of them that can play center field and do what they do.”

What they do is run the bases well, track down balls in the gaps for outs that may fall for extra-base hits beyond other outfielders – the little things that win games.

The manager isn’t getting fixated on the 25-year-old Martin, whom Texas signed in 2011 as a free agent from Cuba, beginning the season batting .176 entering Thursday, or on Gentry sitting at .308. Martin had played in six games and Gentry five.

Washington doesn’t want Martin or Gentry focused on those numbers, either.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.323 15 58 57
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 15
RBIA. Beltre 58
RA. Beltre 57
OPSA. Beltre .883
WY. Darvish 10
ERAY. Darvish 2.90
SOY. Darvish 167