Now that Matt Harrison is back in the starting rotation, rookie Nick Martinez has made the move to the bullpen. Martinez, who has earned two starts this year, has been moved around from the bigs to the minors, as veterans have made their return from the DL.
With Pedro Figueroa undergoing Tommy John surgery this week, and Tanner Scheppers and Derek Holland still on the DL, Martinez could see significant time from the bullpen. Considering Martinez game into this season with only five AA starts under his belt, his rise to the majors has been nothing short of impressive.
In both of his starts this year, Martinez has earned the appreciation of both his team and Rangers fans, as he continuously performed well enough to keep the Rangers in the game. In eleven innings pitched, he gave up only five earned runs and ten hits, but was unable to earn his first win. As Martinez throws more innings and settles into his new role as a part of the bullpen, you can expect that his rookie jitters will continue to fade.
“They are starting to settle down, still get antsy when you go out there” said Martinez. “And now that I’m moved to the pen, you kind of get those jitters also, when they call you to warm up.”
It’s almost been a week since Martinez made his last start, so he could see his first action from the bullpen sometime during this home series. After making his first two appearances this season on the road, Martinez is excited that he could soon make his Globe Life Park debut.
“It’s exciting to get back here” said Martinez. “We have such a great fan base in Texas and I’m really excited to hear the crowd go crazy when we go up a run or whatever. Just a lot of excitement going on right now.”
There won’t be too many days for excitement in Arlington, as the Rangers are only home for a three-game series against Oakland before heading back out west to take on the Angels. However, should Martinez get the opportunity pitch this series, he could make his debut a big one. With one of Martinez’s two start coming against Oakland, he’s developed a feel for the A’s hitters. Surely, they’ve developed a feel for him as well, but Martinez believes his experience and work ethic are enough for him to be successful.
“They have my number also, but I’m going to do my work” said Martinez. “I’m going to get my work done and study their hitters also and I think I’ll be alright. It’s always big on a homestand. Every game is big, especially when they are in your division. It’s a dog fight and we just want to come out on top.”
With Yu Darvish and Martin Perez earning the next two starts for the Rangers, it seems that Martinez’s best chance at playing could be Wednesday with Robbie Ross on the mound. In three of the five starts Ross has made this year, he hasn’t made it out of the sixth innings. Should the need for a middle relief pitcher arise, it seems only fitting that Martinez would get the call.