Rangers center fielder also throws out Yankees first baseman at the plate
By Cody Stavenhagen
ARLINGTON -- Leonys Martin raced back, found the wall, pushed off and snagged a deep fly ball off Mark Teixeira's bat just before it had a chance to go over the wall in left-center.
His stellar catch in the second inning was the most memorable play in the Rangers' 6-2 loss to the Yankees on Monday, though it didn't make up for a rocky outing from Matt Harrison and missed opportunities at the plate.
"As soon as he hit it, I knew I was gonna be up against the wall," Martin said. "I tried to find the wall first. I just used the wall, and thanks to God it was a good jump."
The Rangers lost their second game in a row, but Martin did his best to stand out. And now that Delino DeShields has supplanted him as the starting center fielder, he doesn't have much of a choice.
"You know, it's a tough situation, but I come every day to the ballpark to be ready, to do my job and be ready when they give me my time," Martin said. "The thing is keep a positive mind and every day go out there and do my best."
In addition to Martin's highlight catch, he had an RBI single and a stolen base in the second. In the eighth, he again ruined Teixeira's mood by fielding a ball in center field and firing home to cut Teixeira down at the plate.
It was Martin's 13th outfield assist this season, which leads the Majors.
"The thing is, when you're not hitting well, you have to do something for your team," Martin said. "That's what I'm trying to do, trying to do something well for my team every time I have an opportunity."
Despite the highlights, Martin still walked away with one regret. In the fourth inning, the Rangers had the bases loaded and one out when Martin grounded to first. Teixeira, playing in, fielded the ball and threw home, where he forced out what would have been the tying run. Robinson Chirinos followed with a groundout that ended the inning and kept the Rangers off the board in the fourth.
In a way, the game was much like Martin's season, even though it was among his best performances. He made some big plays, but it just wasn't enough.
Despite flashes of potential, Martin has struggled this season, hitting .219. Martin started Monday mainly to give DeShields a day of rest, but Rangers manager Jeff Banister is also cognizant of finding ways to allow Martin to contribute.
Martin did just that Monday, and he is hoping that won't be an outlier.
"Gotta keep Leo engaged," Banister said before the game. "Leo is a big part of what we're doing."
Cody Stavenhagen is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.