On one side of him Prince Fielder tried to distract his television interview by barking his name. On the other side, Elvis Andrus blared his music and peppered him with taunts.
Texas Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin had just arrived at spring training Wednesday morning, the last of 61 players to report. And his teammates gave him a good-natured ribbing for it.
“I’m happy to be back again,” said Martin, who took it all in good fun. “It was a pretty good offseason for me. I worked so hard to get my body to feel good. I feel ready to go.”
Martin, who hit lead-off for much of last season, worked almost entirely on his base stealing in the offseason. It’s an area that needed improvement after he was thrown out 12 times in 2014, second most in the American League. He stole 31 bases in ‘14 and has 67 combined the past two seasons.
“I need to do a better job on my jump this year,” he said. “I was 100 percent concentrated on my base running. I want to help my team any way to be back in the playoffs.”
As long as Martin gets on base early and often in 2015, his late arrival to spring training will be forgiven.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760