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Leonys Martin debuts at Double-A after signing with Rangers for $15.5 million

May 14, 2011, 11:33 AM EDT

leonys-martin-rangers AP

Leonys Martin finalized a $15.5 million major-league contract with the Rangers last week and the 23-year-old Cuban center fielder made his American debut at Double-A, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a steal.

Martin’s contract includes an immediate spot on the 40-man roster and most pre-signing scouting reports suggested he was pretty close to being major-league ready, so his thriving at Double-A right away would put even more pressure on the Rangers’ current center fielder, Julio Borbon.

Borbon and Martin are similar players, with speed and defense accounting for much of their value and power potential being the big question mark for both guys, but Borbon’s defense has been shaky dating back to late last season and he’s gotten on base at a measly .324 clip despite a solid .284 batting average.

Borbon injured his hamstring yesterday and may be headed for the disabled list, but rather than turn to Martin already the Rangers seem likely to call up veteran Endy Chavez instead. If they need some help in center field six weeks from now, however, Martin may be the one getting the call.

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