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Latest Injury Could Move Martin to Leadoff

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Shin-Soo Choo was signed this offseason to give the Texas Rangers a bona fide, superstar leadoff man, which is something the Rangers haven't had in years, maybe since the days of Tom Goodwin. That tells you something.

    Ian Kinsler held down the role for much of the past decade or so, and he did it with mixed results and was polarizing among Rangers fans on what his role should be. Elvis Andrus was groomed to be a leadoff man, and it never really worked out.

    Choo was the guy, and in reality he still is. But for the rest of this season, it's starting to look like he might not be out of necessity for a No. 3 hitter in front of Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios — someone who can get on base to allow those two to knock them in.

    That leaves a void atop the Rangers' order, and the most logical candidate to assume that role is Leonys Martin, who got a swim as a leadoff man for about a month last season and pretty much failed.

    Martin has weapons to be a great leadoff man. He can bunt for singles, he can steal bases and he's gone through stretches this year where he's had some great at-bats and learned to take what pitchers give him and go with it for some nice base hits. At other times, he's been awful and impatient at the plate, drawing just 14 walks this season for a .320 on-base percentage — well below what you want for your leadoff man.

    If Martin can take this new role and be successful in it, it would give the Rangers a good problem. Down the road, you'd have to still figure the Rangers want Choo to be the leadoff hitter with his on-base percentage near the top of the league every year, but it'd always be nice to have an improved Martin in the lineup next year with what the Rangers hope is an actual preferred lineup.

    Either way, it seems he's going to get an extended look for the final 99 games of the regular season.