ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 16: (L-R) Leonys Martin #2 of the Texas Rangers celebrates with Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers after Martin hit a walk off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Editor's Note: After this post was written, the Rangers changed their lineup for Tuesday night's game against Seattle.
Ron Washington has done some messing around with the Texas Rangers' lineup recently, and he's doing it again for Tuesday's series opener against the Seattle Mariners against righty Hisashi Iwakuma, who finished third in the AL Cy Young voting a year ago.
First off, and most importantly, is that Prince Fielder is back in the Rangers' lineup after missing two games over the weekend after receiving an injection for a herniated disk in his neck. There was rightfully some concern about that revelation, but at least for now, it appears he might be OK. Fielder will DH and hit fifth in the Rangers' lineup, a spot he hasn't hit yet this season as he's been the cleanup man and No. 3 hitter so far.
Secondly, Leonys Martin is getting another crack at the leadoff spot, and if — and it's a big if — he's successful, this lineup could look pretty freaking good.
Martin has been in the leadoff spot before, for stretch of games last season, and has struggled in the role, hitting .238 with a .301 on-base percentage in his 31 career games in the leadoff role. He hits about 50 points higher when hitting in the eighth or ninth spot in the order. But his skills translate to hitting leadoff with his ability to get on base with the bunt and to steal bases.
Martin hitting leadoff allows the Rangers to continue to hit their best hitter this year, Shin-Soo Choo, in the third spot, ahead of Adrian Beltre and Fielder. It also drops Alex Rios to sixth in the order and gives them another hitter who can strike fear into pitchers, not to mention the fact it moves Mitch Moreland to seventh in the lineup and if he can continue his recent play that's a pretty nice-looking lineup.
Of course, there are a bunch of ifs involved here, but the lineup has a chance at working.