ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 28: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers throws in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 28, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Nick Martinez wasn't supposed to be in this position. He was supposed to be starting in Frisco with the thought he might get up to Arlington by 2015 sometime.
Instead, Martinez, a 23-year-old righty, who entered the year having pitched just five games above the Class-A level, was in the Rangers' Opening Day rotation.
He's bounced back and forth since then as injured pitchers came back and then got injured again, but now Martinez seems to be in the rotation for the long-haul — at least until Derek Holland returns, when he or Joe Saunders would likely move back to the bullpen or Martinez simply sent back to the minors.
He'll make his third start since returning to the rotation on Thursday afternoon in a series finale against a struggling offensive team in Minnesota and will look to give the Rangers their second straight road four-game series win.
In his previous outing, Martinez pitched six innings and gave up just one run and eight hits to one of the best lineups in baseball in the Detroit Tigers, getting the Rangers a 12-2 win. Before that, he allowed one run in five innings to perhaps the scariest offense going right now in the Toronto Blue Jays.
He's had success against big-time lineups, so it'll be interesting to see what he does Thursday against a pretty poor lineup that has cooled significantly since its hot start in April.