Nick Martinez surprised many with a hot start to the 2015 season, although he fizzled out by the end of that campaign. Unfortunately for the 26-year-old and the Rangers alike, there was really no bright spot during his tenure in the big leagues in 2016. The right-hander began the season in the minor leagues, where he did find some success with his excellent control (1.55 BB/9), which helped him to a sound FIP (3.46). This performance afforded him some a few spot starts and some bullpen appearances with Texas throughout the season, but the results were not pretty: 5.59 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 16:19 K:BB, and eight homers allowed in 38.2 innings. To make matters worse, these are the numbers he put up while allowing a below-average .285 BABIP. The Rangers' rotation is pretty thin behind Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish, but until Martinez can miss a few more bats and keep the ball in the park, he'll likely be relegated to a Quad-A swingman role with the ceiling of a long reliever.
The Rangers recalled Martinez from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday. Martinez has allowed 22 earned runs over 27.2 innings (7.16 ERA) with the Rangers this season, but he has 61 big-league games under his belt, so the team wanted to add an experienced arm for the stretch run. Martinez will likely work out of the bullpen but could be used for a spot start if needed.
Martinez was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock on Monday. The right-hander came up less than a week ago after Lucas Harrell hit the DL, but he'll head back to Round Rock with the Rangers in need of a spot on the 25-man roster. Texas will use it to activate left-hander Derek HOlland from the 60-day DL. That move isn't expected to become official until Tuesday, however.
Martinez was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday. Martinez takes the roster spot of starter Lucas Harrell, who was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday with a groin strain. It's possible that Martinez will simply slot into the rotation, or the Rangers could opt to go with a four-man rotation and bring Derek Holland off the DL when they next need a fifth starter on Aug. 27. Martinez has been quite good of late at Triple-A (3.23 ERA, 56 strikeouts in last 61.1 innings), but his 7.18 ERA in the big leagues speaks to his inability to get big leaguers out.
Martinez was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday, Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. The team had to clear a spot on the roster for Dario Alvarez, who was acquired from the Braves on Wednesday, and Martinez was the casualty. Martinez was an obvious candidate for demotion, having given up five runs over four innings Tuesday and 20 runs total in his five starts (23.2 innings). Lucas Harrell, also brought in from Atlanta, is expected to take Martinez's spot in the starting rotation.
Martinez (1-3) allowed five runs on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts over four innings in a loss Tuesday to the Athletics. Martinez was called up to make this start as a replacement for the ineffective Kyle Lohse, but Martinez didn't fare much better. He allowed three home runs and managed just three strikeouts as he wasn't fooling anybody. Martinez allowed four home runs in the three starts prior to his demotion, and with no sign that he's fixed the problem, his stay in the Rangers rotation could be a short one.