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Brett Martin Hopes For A Rebound In 2019

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Last season looked like Brett Martin might finally break through and realize what the Rangers define as his ceiling.

He might not be the typical projectable lefthander, but he certainly showed many of those characteristics as he entered his first big league spring training.

He is back this spring, this time as a reliever, after disaster struck in 2018 at Double-A Frisco. The good news was that he was healthy for the first time in his career. The bad news is that he went 2-10, 7.28 over 29 appearances.

Martin, whom the Rangers selected out of Walters State JC in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, has put that behind him and embraced what lies ahead. Will he miss starting? Sure, but he has learned that being in the bullpen might be his best path forward.

"It’s a different role for me,” Martin said. "I got a taste of it last year. It’s different, but I enjoy it. I’ve seen how my pitches play a little bit better for me out of the bullpen. Coming out of the ‘pen, you’ve got to be ready. That’s something I’ve got to get used to.”

Martin, 23,  didn’t trust his stuff last year, and that put him behind in counts and gave hitters too much of an advantage.

"I’d fall behind 2-0, and I’d have to get back in the count with a fastball,” Martin said. "I knew that, the hitter knew that, everybody in the ballpark knew that. I couldn’t throw my breaking ball for a strike, and I didn’t have a slider at the time. I just needed to be able to throw everything for strikes, and I couldn’t do that.”

He was one of eight lefties in camp competing for a bullpen spot. There wasn’t much separation between them in terms of experience or stuff, and with a spot on the 40-man roster, Martin could easily make his MLB debut this season.

He’s still on the Rangers’ radar.

"Hopefully I can do whatever I can to help the team out anyway that I can,” Martin said.

RANGERS ROUNDUP

Infielder Eli White, acquired as part of the Jurickson Profar trade in December, was given an ample load of at-bats early in the spring as the Rangers took a closer look at him. "He’s a special kid—he’s super athletic, he’s one of our fastest guys," manager Chris Woodward said. "He’s been really, really impressive in who the kid is, his athleticism, and I want to see him as much as I can.”

Left-hander Cole Ragans, the Rangers’ first-round pick in 2016, started throwing off a mound in mid-February and hopes to be pitching on rehab assignment by the end of April. He had Tommy John surgery March 28, 2018. Righthanders Alex Speas and Kyle Cody, also recovering from Tommy John, won’t pitch off a mound for a few more months.

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Healthy Season Could Catapult Brett Martin To Prominence

Lefthander Brett Martin has shown flashes of brilliance, but not yet the ability to stay healthy.

RANGERS ROUNDUP

Infielder Eli White, acquired as part of the Jurickson Profar trade in December, was given an ample load of at-bats early in the spring as the Rangers took a closer look at him. "He’s a special kid—he’s super athletic, he’s one of our fastest guys," manager Chris Woodward said. "He’s been really, really impressive in who the kid is, his athleticism, and I want to see him as much as I can.”

Lefthander Cole Ragans, the Rangers’ first-round pick in 2016, started throwing off a mound in mid-February and hopes to be pitching on rehab assignment by the end of April. He had Tommy John surgery March 28, 2018. Righthanders Alex Speas and Kyle Cody, also recovering from Tommy John, won’t pitch off a mound for a few more months.

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