AP source: Martin headed to Rangers after 2 years in Japan

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) The Texas Rangers are bringing another pitcher back from Japan to try to bolster their bullpen, and this time it’s a homegrown talent who took a long road to his first shot at the majors three years ago.

The Rangers and right-hander Chris Martin have agreed on a $4 million, two-year contract after the reliever spent the past two seasons in Japan, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday.

Texas will be Martin’s third major league team after previous stints with Colorado and the New York Yankees. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a physical.

Two years ago, the Rangers signed Tony Barnette after the right-hander spent six seasons in Japan. Earlier this month, Barnette signed for a third season in Texas after a strong debut in 2016 followed by a rough second year.

In two seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters, Martin had a 1.12 ERA in 92 appearances, including 21 saves in 2016.

The 31-year-old Martin was born in Arlington and pitched at Arlington High School before twice opting not to sign after getting drafted. Martin hurt his shoulder after deciding to return to McLennan Community College in Waco and eventually had surgery.

Martin returned and tried to pitch for an independent league team in nearby Fort Worth but quit when the shoulder still bothered him. After three years out of baseball, Martin began throwing pain-free, starting a process that eventually got him a spot in the minors with the Boston organization.

He was traded to the Rockies three years later and had a 6.89 ERA in 16 appearances in the big leagues. The Yankees purchased Martin’s contract and he had a 5.66 ERA in 24 games with them in 2015 before going to Japan.

AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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