OAKLAND -- Rookie right-hander Nick Martinez returns to the Rangers rotation to make a spot start against the Athletics on Tuesday night. He will be opposed by left-hander Tommy Milone for the Athletics.
Martinez made his Major League debut on April 5 against the Rays. Martinez started because Yu Darvish began the season on the disabled list. Martinez allowed three runs in six innings on four hits and three walks while striking out two. He left with a 4-3 lead but the Rays rallied for a 5-4 victory.
"I just want him to go out there and throw his stuff," manager Ron Washington said. "Make them swing the bat. With that team, you can't put guys on base because they have a way of hurting you. That's all I want him to do, throw strikes and execute pitches."
Martinez was optioned to Double-A Frisco after the April 5 game and has made two starts for the Roughriders without a decision. He allowed one runs in 4 2/3 innings against Corpus Christi last week and had a 1.86 ERA in his two starts. He also walked seven in 9 2/3 innings while experimenting with a sinker. That experiment has been put on the shelf. Martinez is sticking with his regular fastball along with the slider, curve and changeup.
"I got away from my gameplan," Martinez said. "The plan is to get back to what I normally do and what got me here in the first place.
This could be another one-start stint for Martinez as Matt Harrison is close to returning from the disabled list.
"I don't know what they have in store for me," Martinez said. "My plan is to stay healthy and be ready if they need me. Whatever happens…happens."
Milone is looking for his first win as the Athletics are 0-2 with him on the mound. He allowed three runs, two earned, in a quality start against the Angels last Wednesday and left with a 4-3 lead. But the Angels ended up winning in extra innings. Milone started the season as the Athletics' fifth starter but didn't make his first start until April 11 because of early rainouts.
Milone is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA in six career starts against the Rangers. But he won his last start against them in Texas on Sept. 15 of last season, holding them to one run in five innings in a 5-1 victory.
"It's a good lineup," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "It's a deep lineup and they're little nicked up right now with Adrian Beltre out, but it's got speed option, it's got power. [Kevin] Kouzmanoff, I think he was player of the week, so he's filled in for Beltre nicely. It's an offense that can beat you in any number of ways. They can hit and run, they do a lot of running. [Alex] Rios has been a great pick up for them. It's a really good offense."
This is the second of 19 games between two teams that finished 1-2 in the American League West the past two years.
"I don't know if setting a tone is what we're thinking about but we want to get the games going and see what we've got," Washington said. "This is the team you're judge by so let's play nine innings and see what happens. Right now they're leading. It will be nice if we can come in and represent ourselves well. It's not going to make or break our season and it's not going to make or break their season."
Athletics: No sympathy from Washington
Right-handed reliever Jim Johnson was acquired from the Orioles to be the Athletics' closer but lost that job after allowing five runs in his first two outs. So now he is a part of a committee of closers that includes left-hander Sean Doolittle and right-hander Luke Gregerson.
But the Athletics went into their three-game series with a bullpen that was second in the American League with a combined ERA of 2.40. So Rangers manager Ron Washington isn't looking at the Athletics' bullpen as a liability.
"I don't know what challenges they have because they have good arms," Washington said. "They are a little above normal as far as a bullpen. They have some good arms so Bob can make it work. Most teams don't have what Bob has. They've got the arms down there that can shut things down."
Rangers: Roster move needed
The Rangers will have to make a roster move before Tuesday's game to make room for Martinez. Among the relief candidates, Aaron Poreda and Shawn Tolleson both have options while Hector Noesi and Pedro Figueroa would have to go through outright waivers.
Poreda was the latest arrival, getting called up last Friday when Tanner Scheppers went on the disabled list. Noesi allowed seven runs in the ninth inning during Sunday's 16-2 loss to the White Sox. It was the most runs allowed by a Rangers reliever since Yoshinori Tateyama allowed eight runs on May 30, 2012 against the Mariners.
The Rangers could also option infielder Luis Sardinas, who was called up on Saturday when James Adduci went on the disabled list. If he is not sent back to Double-A Frisco on Tuesday, he will most likely go back on Friday when Adrian Beltre comes off the disabled list.
• There will be free parking at the Coliseum on Tuesday, sponsored by Chevrolet. The 2014 NCAA National Champion Cal Men's Swim Team, led by coach David Durden, will throw out the first pitch.
• Coco Crisp had a stolen base in the fourth inning for his 147th with the Athletics as he passed Carney Lansford for fourth most in Oakland history. The top three are Rickey Henderson (867), Bert Campaneris (398) and Bill North (232).
• Rangers second baseman Josh Wilson is 9-for-15 against left-handers, a .600 batting average that was the highest among qualifiers in the American League going into Monday games.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.