HOUSTON – Leonys Martin followed up a spring that saw him make the Opening Day roster for the first time by nabbing a spot in the Opening Day lineup.
Martin, who batted ninth and started in center, got the nod over Craig Gentry.
Texas manager Ron Washington said the left-handed hitting Martin got the start because Houston started right-hander Bud Norris. But Washington said that he doesn’t have a platoon situation in centerfield with Martin and the right-handed hitting Gentry.
He said Gentry will start in the next few days but he wouldn’t say when. The Astros are starting three-consecutive righties in the series.
“I feel so excited to have an Opening Day opportunity,” said Martin, who hit .359 in spring training. “It’s an opportunity that I will never forget. It’s been a dream of mine and it’s something that I’m very excited about.”
Martin has a comfort level this year that he didn’t have in his brief stints with the Rangers in 2011 and 2012.
“I knew I would have a better opportunity to make the team this year so I came in with a different attitude and I was able to work on the things I was needed to work on,” Martin said. “I just felt more comfortable because I’ve been around here for a couple of years now.”
Texas general manager Jon Daniels likes the depth that the club has in center now with Martin and Gentry along with Julio Borbon. He also was hesitant to anoint either Martin or Gentry as the No. 1 guy.
“We all know as soon as you put a plan down you’re going to be asked to adjust,” Daniels said. “I think that’s what depth allows you to do. There are times when they’re both going to be playing out there together. I know you need to do it for season previews and stuff like that to lay out the starting lineup but the reality the game doesn’t work that way.”