Martinez Makes Big Case For Fifth Starter

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Nick Martinez really had no business being in the bigs last year, as one of many Rangers who could've claimed that in the disastrous injury-laden season that forced many kids into bigger roles than for which they were ready.

Martinez had pitched a grand total of five — count 'em, five — games above the High-A level before he was in thrust into the Rangers' Opening Day rotation a year ago as a relative no-name. He spent much of the season in that role and had a rough year, with a few really high spots. Despite his struggles, the Rangers repeatedly praised Martinez for his ability to shake off bad outings and not let his confidence be shaken.

Now, it appears he'll open the season in the rotation once again after he turned in a pristine outing on Thursday night against Colorado in Cactus League play — a six-inning scoreless outing.

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“Nick threw the ball very well,” Banister told reporters after the game. “He was effective and efficient with everything he threw. He met all of the [challenges] tonight and he has been doing that all spring."

Banister didn't name Martinez a starter officially, as he did with Ross Detwiler, but he was awfully complimentary of the young righty, who has outpitched Nick Tepesch this spring. The only other strong candidate for the No. 5 starter's job was rookie Chi Chi Gonzalez, who was optioned to minor-league came earlier this week after a strong outing of his own and will start the year at Triple-A Round Rock.

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