OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 22: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the first inning at O.co Coliseum on April 22, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Nick Martinez has made two solid spot starts for the Texas Rangers this year as a 23-year-old prospect who'd seen just five games above the Single-A level in the Rangers' farm this system prior to this season.
Yet, when the Rangers needed a spot starter in the season's first week, and again last week, they turned to Martinez instead of a proven starter in Nick Tepesch. That says a lot about what the Rangers think about him. But even with his solid outings, the Rangers have to want the young starter in the minor leagues doing what he's been groomed to do — start games. Instead, he's going to be in the Rangers' bullpen for the time being after the season-ending injury to Pedro Figueroa, who had actually become a somewhat trusted hand in the pen.
"That was our intention but right now, with the injuries we have, we feel he can help us," manager Ron Washington told reporters about Martinez being in Arlington instead of starting in Frisco. "How long that will last, I don't know. He can give us innings."
Martinez, who has a 4.09 ERA in his two starts, obviosuly is open to his major-league bullpen assignment.
"I feel great about it," Martinez told MLB.com. "The ultimate goal is to be in the big leagues. That's what I want, the opportunity to help the team. I don't know what the future holds for me. If I can get back up there as a starter, that's fine. If they need me in the bullpen, that's good too."