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Hacking For Hits

DALLAS–New name. New position. Same relentless swing.

Ramon Nivar challenged the .400 mark and stayed near the top of the Texas League batting race through early May despite playing home games in the new pitcher-friendly park at Frisco.

Nivar was hitting .365. The rest of the Frisco club carried a .231 average.

If the name does not sound familiar, you’re not alone. Nivar played his first five seasons in the Rangers organization as Ramon Martinez. The tighter visa process uncovered his correct surname.

Nivar jump-started his career last season by hitting .305-3-41 in his second full season in the Class A Florida State League. Nivar, a switch-hitter, also led the league in runs with 98 and finished third in stolen bases with an organization-high 39.

Nivar, 23, built the average despite a swing-at-everything approach. Nothing has changed this season in terms of his approach at the plate. He had just six walks and nine strikeouts through 96 at-bats.

"His hand-eye coordination is incredible," Frisco manager Tim Ireland said. "He’s one of the best offensive players in this league. But he has to get more disciplined."

Nivar shuttled between second base and shortstop last season and made the FSL all-star team as a utility infielder. He opened this season at shortstop, but Ireland did not like the overall look of the infield.

Ireland put Nivar back at second. Nivar’s defense, erratic at shortstop, improved with the different look.

The Rangers envision his major league future as a utility infielder. But by any name, Ramon Nivar is a hitter.

Ranger Roundup

• Lefthander Mario Ramos was headed for another try at the rotation with Triple-A Oklahoma. Ramos, a disappointment since being obtained as the key figure in a six-player deal with the Athletics last year, opened the season with five consecutive good starts for Frisco.

• Lefthander Doug Davis’ up-and-down time in the organization ended when the Blue Jays claimed him on outright waivers.

• Previous organization report: Need For Speed

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