SEATTLE -- The Rangers faced a right-handed pitcher Saturday for the second straight day to open the second half. They did so with Leonys Martin batting ninth and playing center field.He was also batting .194 while Craig Gentry was sitting with a .326 average. But manager Ron Washington said he wanted to give Martin a chance to show what he can do against right-handed pitching. "My feeling is we have a 25-man roster and I'm trying to get something out of all of them," Washington. "These first few days I want to see what I can get out of Martin. It's nothing against Gentry." Gentry normally gets much of his playing time when there is a left-hander on the mound. But he has still hit .290 (20-for-69) against right-handers, as opposed to .360 against left-handers. Martin, who is here because Mitch Moreland is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, started on Friday, striking out twice and dropping a sacrifice bunt in his first three plate appearance. Martin, who is hitless in his last 13 at-bats, is in his first full professional season. The Rangers signed him as an amateur free agent last year after his defection from Cuba. He missed five weeks earlier this season at Triple-A Round Rock with a torn ligament in his left thumb. "He's a talented kid," Washington said. "He's just inexperienced. It's that simple. He can run, play defense, he can throw, he's got some pop in his bat. He's just a young kid getting inconsistent playing time. There will be times when he gets consistent playing time and his talent will shine. "I'm trying to get him so at-bats so he can feel good about himself. I'm not going to have him just sitting around here."
Rangers call up Martinez with Napoli banged up
SEATTLE -- Rangers catcher Mike Napoli was out of the lineup on Saturday with pain and swelling around his right knee where it attaches to the quadriceps muscle. Napoli is not expected to play Saturday or Sunday unless it's an emergency.The Rangers activated Triple-A Round Rock catcher Luis Martinez before Saturday's game with the Mariners and optioned pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama to Round Rock. Tateyama was expected to be sent down in Oakland when Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara are activated off the disabled list. This just gives the Rangers an extra catcher while Napoli is sidelined. Napoli probably won't return to the lineup before Tuesday in Oakland, and could be out until Friday in Anaheim. The Rangers have off-days on Monday and Thursday, which gives Napoli extra time to heal. "It's pretty sore," Napoli said. "I'll continue to ice it down and do what I can to get the swelling down. It's sore the first day after and pretty swollen." Napoli injured his knee sliding hard into Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo on a fifth-inning play at the plate. He stayed in the game until the ninth, when Yorvit Torrealba took over. Torrealba started on Saturday. Martinez, 27, has spent the entire season with Round Rock, batting .262 (43-164) with two home runs, 10 doubles, two triples, 17 RBIs and 22 runs scored in 50 games. The right-handed batter has hit .304 (14-46) against left-handed pitchers. He has caught 10 of 47 (21.3%) attempted basestealers in the Pacific Coast League with a .987 fielding percentage in his team-high 50 games behind the plate. Acquired in a Dec. 21 trade with San Diego, Martinez saw his only Major League action with the Padres in 2011, when he batted .203 with a home run and 10 RBIs in 22 games.
Washington still believes in Smoak
SEATTLE -- Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak was one of four players acquired from the Rangers in the Cliff Lee trade two years ago. So far, Smoak has struggled to provide the offense that Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik envisioned.Rangers manager Ron Washington said the Mariners need to be patient because he still thinks Smoak is going to be what they expected. "Smoak will be all right," Washington said. "He's a fighter, he knows how to fight. Somewhere down the line, he'll figure it out because there is something there. He might have gotten up here too soon, we had him up too soon. But he has something in that bat. He just has to figure it out. He's going to pay dividends for them. Jack knows talent. "All those kids will pay dividends. They can play, they're just in the big leagues learning on the job. They're tough. I don't see them cowing down. They're going out there and getting after it. They're just inexperienced."
The Rangers went into Saturday having scored four or fewer runs in eight straight games. That's their longest such streak since 1999. Manager Ron Washington lauded Derek Holland's use of his changeup in Friday night's win. Holland used to have a great changeup and is trying to reincorporate it back into his repetoire. Said Washington, "By throwing it more, you get a good feel for it. The first couple of years in the big leagues he was fighting for his life. Now he's getting back to using it. Not over-using it but let them know it's there so they can't sit on the fastball." Nelson Cruz started at designated hitter on Saturday. David Murphy did so on Friday and Washington said the plan is for Josh Hamilton to play there on Sunday.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.