No matter how long Nick Martinez is in the Texas Rangers’ rotation after his big-league debut Saturday, he’s going to make the most of it.
The Miami native expects 50 or more family member and friends to be at Tropicana Field to back him for what could be a spot start before having to be sent to Double A Frisco to create a roster spot for Yu Darvish on Sunday.
Martinez is aware of that possibility, but he’s not dwelling on it. Instead, he plans to revel in his time on the mound against one of the favorites to win the American League East.
“Good or bad, it’s going to be a great learning experience,” Martinez said. “Whatever happens, I’m going to take this as a learning experience, short or long.”
Martinez pitched in relief in two Cactus League games but didn’t make a start. He pitched five innings March 28 in San Antonio and has thrown two bullpen sessions since in preparation for the Rays.
The Rangers had an idea of what he could do before giving him a spot in the rotation on the final day of camp. His biggest issue Saturday will be conquering his nerves.
“Just go out there, relax, use his pitches, get us as many outs as he can and stay out there as long as he can,” manager Ron Washington said. “It’s just a matter of believing in himself and his stuff. Just trust it. He should be able to be effective if he believes in himself.”
The Rangers will purchase Martinez’s contract to add him to the 40-man roster and will have to option an active player to put him on the 25-man roster.
Darvish will come off the disabled list to start the finale against the Rays after a bout with neck stiffness. Right-hander Colby Lewis will also start Sunday, for Triple A Round Rock, and work on sharpening his mechanics before possibly joining the Rangers next weekend.
Left-hander Matt Harrison will stay on schedule Tuesday even though his first rehab start Wednesday was cut short by rain at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco.