8/17/2014 10:01 P.M. ET
Martin missing his manager's mark against lefties
By Dave Sessions / Special to MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- With a lefty on the mound for the Angels on Sunday, Rangers manager Ron Washington chose to leave Leonys Martin out of the lineup for the first time since Aug. 5.
Washington said he has been happy with Martin's approach recently -- "he's swinging at strikes," the manager said -- but Washington was more guarded in his assessment of Martin's performance against lefties.
Asked if Martin needed to show more improvement to get more playing time against left-handers, Washington paused for about 20 seconds before offering only one word: "Yeah."
Martin is hitting .198 (19-for-96) this season against lefties with four walks and 26 strikeouts. His on-base percentage against right-handers is .115 higher than against lefties.
At least earlier in the season, Washington showed some willingness to start Martin against southpaws; Martin has started 22 of the 35 games the Rangers have played against left-handed starters.
For his career, Martin is a .211 hitter against lefties in 237 at-bats.
Rookies Klein, Mendez an effective combo in bullpen
ARLINGTON -- With three perfect innings in Saturday night's loss to the Angels, the Rangers' mostly inexperienced bullpen continued its recent hot streak -- and continued to give manager Ron Washington something to smile about.
Phil Klein, Neal Cotts and Roman Mendez needed only 30 pitches between them to retire all nine batters they faced.
"They've done an outstanding job," Washington said of his relief corps. "We've been sort of keeping ourselves in ballgames and they're the reason why, simply because we've been getting some short outings out of the starters, and we've been having to get three or four innings out of the bullpen to stay around in the ballgame and they've been giving us that."
Klein and Mendez, both rookies, have enjoyed some early success in the Majors. Klein has a 2.70 ERA and nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings, while Mendez has a 1.40 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.
"When you have the type of stuff that Mendez has -- it's really satisfying that he has that mindset to attack," Washington said. "Klein, he just goes out there and makes pitches. He can put that slider where he wants to whenever he wants to, and he doesn't hang it. He has command."
Rios back in right after strong Saturday night
ARLINGTON -- Alex Rios has been slowed lately with a sprained ankle, but he showed Saturday that he can still impress with his arm and his bat.
Rios made two highlight-reel plays in the Rangers' 5-4 loss: a fine throw from right field to get Josh Hamilton at the plate in the fifth inning, and a two-run single with two outs in the seventh.
"Both felt good," Rios said of his contributions. "The throw was good because I saved a run from Colby [Lewis]."
Hamilton was so far out that he didn't bother to slide, instead coasting to a stop several feet from the plate and running into catcher Robinson Chirinos' tag. It was Rios' fifth assist from the outfield this season, and surely the least climactic.
"It's all the same, if you get him by 10 feet or 1 foot, it's an out," Rios said.
Manager Ron Washington had planned to use Rios at designated hitter on Sunday, but instead, he was in the lineup in right field. Sunday marked the first time Rios, who injured his right ankle just after the All-Star break, started in the outfield on three consecutive days.
• With another RBI on Saturday night, J.P. Arencibia has 23 RBIs since the All-Star break, tied for the third-most in the Major Leagues. His seven homers during that stretch are tied for third in the American League and tied for fourth in the Majors.
• Double-A Frisco's Joey Gallo homered again Saturday night, giving him 39 on the season. Tom Robson holds the franchise's Minor League record with 41 homers in 1974 for Spokane.
• Miles Mikolas and Nick Martinez are scheduled to start for the Rangers in their two-game series against the Marlins and both hail from the Miami area. Mikolas is from Jupiter, Fla. and attended Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. Martinez was born in Miami and attended Belen Jesuit High School there.
• Outfielder Engel Beltre left Saturday's Arizona League game with "general soreness" in his right leg. He sustained a fractured tibia earlier this year. His status will be evaluated to determine whether he should continue his rehab assignment.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.