Martinez more than Rangers' mop-up reliever

Martinez more than Rangers' mop-up reliever

ARLINGTON -- Leading 2-0 with one out in the sixth on Thursday against the Rockies, the Rangers replaced starter Matt Harrison with rookie right-hander Nick Martinez.

With a runner on base, Martinez struck out Drew Stubbs, gave up a double to Brandon Barnes that put runners on second and third, and then struck out Jordan Pacheco. Bringing Martinez in that situation, shows that manager Ron Washington no longer considers him just a long reliever.

"He did a good job," Washington said. "That could have gotten wild. You have to give him a lot of credit. He's not fazed. I hope he continues to have that mindset."

Martinez originally made the Rangers as a spot starter with the intention of sending him back to the Minors to continue as a starter once the rotation was completely healthy. The rotation is set, but the Rangers have no intention of sending Martinez back down. He was originally kept as a long reliever but could earn a more prominent role.

"Whatever your role is, you have to earn your spot," said Martinez, who is ranked as the Rangers' 13th-best prospect. "I'm aware of that and not going to settle for anything less."

Washington said his bullpen is fully rested for Friday's game with the Red Sox, although he would like to stay away from Martinez because he pitched Thursday.

"I don't think we need to use him back to back," Washington said. "We have other guys who were down who are ready to pick that up."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.