(Sports Network) - Florida-born right-hander Nick Martinez makes his major- league debut on Saturday when the Texas Rangers continue their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
The 23-year-old native of Hialeah, Fla. is the latest insertion into a jangled Texas rotation that's missing its ace, Yu Darvish, with a stiff neck.
Martinez was solid in spring training and yielded a 1.23 earned run average across three appearances, but has never pitched above the Double-A level in the minor leagues.
He made 27 appearances at Single-A and Double-A last season and was 12-7 with a 2.50 ERA in 150 1/3 innings.
Tampa Bay counters with elite left-hander David Price, the American League's Cy Young Award winner in 2012 and a double-digit winner with the Rays in each of his five seasons as a starter.
The Vanderbilt University product got his 2014 off to a winning start with a 9-2 defeat of the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, when he went 7 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on six hits.
He's just 2-4 in nine career meetings with Texas, however, and has allowed an opposition batting average of .265 - more than 30 points above his career average of .232.
Price is 31-21 in his career at Tropicana Field.
On Friday, Sean Rodriguez and newcomer Ryan Hanigan each belted three-run homers as the Rays routed the Rangers, 8-1.
The blasts backed a solid outing from Jake Odorizzi (1-0). The right-hander scattered three hits, walked three and struck out four over six scoreless innings to pick up his first major-league win.
Joe Saunders' Rangers debut was far from glittering. The veteran lefty allowed five runs -- four earned -- on six hits and walked three in 3 2/3 innings.
To make matters worse Saunders (0-1) left after being struck on the left ankle by an Evan Longoria comebacker. The X-rays showed no fracture and the team is calling it a bruise.
Texas split its eight matchups with the Rays last season.
04/05 09:41:12 ET
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