Fastball command has been the difference between good and rough outings for Nick Martinez.
If he can command it, his other pitches fall into place and he can go deep into games. He’s shown that his past two outings even though he remains winless since May 24.
Martinez threw six innings of two-run ball against Seattle on June 15, and followed that up with seven-plus innings of two-run ball against Anaheim last Saturday. He’ll look to do the same Thursday against Detroit.
“It can be a little challenging to locate my fastball, but it’s something that you can get on a roll with it,” Martinez said. “I seem to be in a groove right now, so just go out there and repeat it.”
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Martinez said his confidence level has remained about the same all year, but his growth is evident. Before his last two starts, he had allowed at least four earned runs and multiple walks in his previous three starts.
Manager Ron Washington has been pleased with the development so far.
“I’m excited to see how he maintains it,” Washington said.
Left-hander Derek Holland had to push back his scheduled pitchers’ fielding practice because of afternoon rain at the Ballpark.
Holland, who continues to rehab from off-season microfracture surgery on his left knee, said he doesn’t know how it’ll affect his schedule. The Rangers have not determined a plan for his return yet until he goes through a PFP session.
That is expected to take place Thursday and a decision whether Holland is ready for a rehab assignment could be made at that point.
“If we’re going to have him back after the All-Star break, we’ll certainly have to make that decision,” Washington said.
Right-hander Luke Jackson headlined a group of four prospects making the jump from Double A Frisco to Triple A Round Rock.
Jackson, considered among the top pitching prospects in the organization, went 8-2 with a 3.02 ERA over 15 starts with the RoughRiders, and will make his Triple A debut on Sunday.
Joining Jackson is right-handed reliever Phil Klein, infielder Ryan Rua and outfielder Jake Smolinski.
To clear spots at Round Rock, the Rangers released right-hander Daniel McCutchen, who was on the Opening Day roster, placed right-hander Scott Richmond on the DL and demoted outfielder Ryan Strausborger to Frisco.
Another notable minor move included left-hander Alex Claudio going from High A Myrtle Beach to Frisco.
E. Beltre on rehab
Outfielder Engel Beltre, who has been out this season with a fractured right tibia, began a rehab assignment with Triple A Round Rock. He can spend a maximize of 30 days on rehab, at which point the Rangers have to either activate him or put him through waivers.
There were high hopes going into the season for Beltre, who is out of options. And Washington said he could still make an impact.
“With the situation we’re in, if he goes on this rehab and he gets off, he could be a big help for us,” Washington said.
First baseman Prince Fielder made his first appearance in the Rangers’ clubhouse since undergoing season-ending neck surgery last month. He’s expected to be around the team the rest of the season, as he rehabs and prepares for the 2015 season.
Going into Wednesday’s games, the Rangers’ minor-league affiliates were a combined 216-142 and had a minor league-leading .603 winning percentage.
Despite rainy conditions the past two days, the Rangers have started on time. They are the only MLB team that has yet to see a delay or postponement this season.
Video of the day
TCU football coach Gary Patterson throws out the first-pitch to baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle before Wednesday’s Rangers-Tigers game.