6/21/2013 8:01 P.M. ET
Productive Martin rewarded with regular playing time
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- The Rangers' platoon arrangement in center field has come to an end. Leonys Martin is getting a chance to play regularly.
Martin was in center on Friday night with left-hander Tyler Lyons on the mound for the Cardinals. Craig Gentry has been starting against lefties, but Martin also started on Wednesday against Athletics left-hander Tommy Milone.
"Martin is getting to play because he's swinging the bat well," manager Ron Washington said. "Gentry is still in the mix, but I'm riding the hot bat. Martin is a young guy, he's only going to get better by playing. So I decided to run him out there and see what happens. He's doing a good job."
Martin took a six-game hitting streak into Friday's game with nine hits in his last 19 at-bats. He was also hitting .298 with a .452 slugging percentage over his past 30 games. Gentry, on the other hand, was hitting .121 in his last 17 games and had just two extra-base hits in his last 41 games. He is also dealing with a bruised hand after getting hit by a pitch on Tuesday.
While Martin has been seeing regular playing time, Washington said he is not ready to declare him an "everyday" player in the same manner as right fielder Nelson Cruz.
"I'm not ready to stamp him with that," Washington said. "He's playing regularly. We'll see where it goes."
Berkman's return to St. Louis brings back memories
ST. LOUIS -- Unlike some of his new teammates, Lance Berkman has no bad memories of St. Louis. He played here with the Cardinals in 2011-12 and was a member of their world championship team that beat the Rangers in '11.
Berkman homered and had the game-tying single with two outs in the 10th inning in Game 6 that kept the Cardinals alive. They won it in the 11th inning on David Freese's home run, and Berkman isn't above bringing it up to fellow Rangers.
"I try to get a good dig in on somebody once a week, maybe once every two weeks," Berkman said. "I don't bring it up unless things are going good and we've been in a little lull lately."
He doesn't have to worry about the Rangers digging him back in return.
"What are they going to give back?" Berkman said. "The guy who is scary is Adrian Beltre. He's not amused by any of that."
Berkman is back in St. Louis but is not expected to start in any of the three games. There is no designated hitter in the National League city, and the Rangers activated first baseman Mitch Moreland off the disabled list on Friday, and he was immediately back in the lineup. Moreland was 6-for-12 with three doubles and a home run during his three games on medical rehabilitation assignment.
"I feel good and ready to go," Moreland said. "I just need to go out there and keep doing what I need to be doing ... have good at-bats and get good pitches to hit."
Kinsler equals Rangers' stolen base record
ST. LOUIS -- When Ian Kinsler stole his fourth base of the season in Thursday's 4-3 win over the A's, it gave him 161 for his career. That ties him with Bump Wills for the most in club history, and Kinsler was amused when Chuck Morgan made the announcement during Thursday's game at the Ballpark in Arlington.
"I didn't know tying is a big deal," Kinsler said. "I thought it was when records are broken."
The stolen base record is one of the oldest in the Rangers' media guide. Michael Young and Juan Gonzalez have claimed just about all the other career marks. But Kinsler doesn't expect to have the same long reign as Wills.
"Elvis [Andrus] will pass me while I'm playing," Kinsler said. "At least I'll have a glimpse of the record. I don't know if it's significant for me, but it shows a significant change in the organization from Juan Gonzalez and the type of clubs the Rangers used to have. We're more balanced now. Soon we'll have other players pass it."
Andrus had 16 stolen bases on the season and 139 for his career going into Friday's game. That's the fourth most in club history. Toby Harrah is third with 153.
Starting Saturday, Perez aims to stick around
ST. LOUIS -- Martin Perez will rejoin the Rangers' rotation on Saturday, when he pitches against the Cardinals. It will be his second start of the season and eighth in the Major Leagues.
Perez is hoping to earn a permanent spot in the rotation, but manager Ron Washington just wants him thinking about Saturday.
"Let's let Martin settle in," Washington said. "I don't want him thinking about what's next. If he pitches well, he'll certainly get the ball again. But I don't want him thinking about that."
Perez has long been considered the Rangers' top pitching prospect, ranked by MLB.com as No. 6 overall in the organization, but has had to overcome several hurdles just to get to this point. He was 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA in six starts and six relief appearances with the Rangers last season, being called up from Triple-A on three different occasions. He started off well this spring but suffered a broken arm on March 4 and missed the first two months of the season.
That kept him from earning a spot in the rotation. Now he's getting another chance with Alexi Ogando (right shoulder inflammation) and Matt Harrison (recovering from back surgery) both on the disabled list. Ogando is still at least a couple of weeks away, while Harrison is out until at least mid-August.
"I think this is my time," Perez said. "Wash told me last year it wasn't my time, but I think this is my time. I think I'm good to go and ready to compete. I just need the opportunity to do the job, and I think people will see what I can do to help this team."
Perez was 5-0 with a 0.87 ERA in his last five starts at Round Rock before being promoted. The Rangers will have to make a roster move before Saturday's game.
• With the Rangers returning to Busch Stadium, Washington said he's not haunted by any memories of the 2011 World Series. Said Washington, "It's not affecting my memories. I worked that out over the winter that year. They didn't go away overnight, but once I got to Spring Training, I was over it. I'm not letting what happened in 2011 affect me in 2013. The Cardinals won it. They beat us. ... I'm through crying."
• Joakim Soria, who missed all of 2012 because of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, pitched a scoreless inning on medical rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Frisco on Thursday. He struck out one in his first professional appearance since Sept. 11, 2011.
• Shortstop Travis Demeritte, who was the 30th overall pick by the Rangers in the First-Year Player Draft, hit a home run in his first professional at-bat for the Arizona Rookie League Rangers on Thursday.
• Pitcher Alex Claudio has been promoted from Class A Myrtle Beach to Double-A Frisco. He replaced reliever Ben Rowen, who was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock.
• The Rangers have sent pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama to the Yankees for future considerations. He had been pitching for Round Rock.
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.