ST. PETERSBURG -- Rangers manager Ron Washington is switching Craig Gentry and Josh Hamilton in the outfield.Both will start Game 3 on Monday against Rays left-hander David Price, but Hamilton will be in left field and Gentry will be in center. Gentry started in left in Game 1 against left-hander Matt Moore, but it was only his second start there, and he wasn't comfortable. He started 33 games in center. "Center field is Gentry's best spot, and we all know Hamilton is a great left fielder," Washington said. "When Gentry is out there, he's better in center than in left. Hamilton is as great in left as he is in center." Hamilton will still play center with David Murphy in left when the opposing team throws a right-hander. Washington planned on keeping Hamilton in center against all pitchers for the playoffs but reversed course. Washington checked with Hamilton, who had no problems with the switch. "It doesn't matter. ... I'm waiting for him to stick me in right field," Hamilton said. "It basically comes down to where other guys are more comfortable playing. The regular season's one thing, the postseason is a little more pressure to read balls right, make plays, so you want to have players where they're most comfortable and feel like they can do the best job."
Martin traveling with the Rangers
ST. PETERSBURG -- Outfielder Leonys Martin is not on the postseason roster but he is traveling with the Rangers and worked out with them on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field. Martin, who signed a five-year, $15.5 million contract in May after escaping from Cuba last year, is using his time with the Rangers to work on both his outfield and baserunning skills with first-base coach Gary Pettis."We felt the combination of the experience of being in this environment and being able to work with Gary Pettis would be most beneficial," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He'll head to Arizona at some point." The Rangers are hoping Martin can play some games in the Arizona Fall League. He cannot play in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela during winter ball because, as a Cuban defector, he doesn't have the necessary documents yet. He could play in Puerto Rico, but the Rangers feel he is too advanced for that competition. In his first season in the United States, Martin played in 29 games at Double-A Frisco and batted .348 with 24 runs scored, nine doubles, two triples, four home runs and 24 RBIs in 112 at-bats. He played 40 games at Triple-A Round Rock and batted .263 with 27 runs scored, seven doubles, a triple and 17 RBIs. He was 19-for-29 at the two levels in stolen bases.
The Rangers called Martin up in September, and he was 3-for-8 at the plate while getting into eight games."Overall, his season was spot-on to what the reports were," Daniels said. "He had obvious talent with things he had to work on. We're really pleased with what we saw and he'll have this winter and spring to work on some things. Then we'll see. "The biggest thing is he has never played this many games in a season and understand the grind of a six-, seven-month season," Daniels said. "That will be an important piece. There are other stuff to work on, like jumps in the outfield, his routes on fly balls, different baserunning situation, pitchers moves. He's got certain attributes you can't teach and we're going to focus on the ones we can."
Hamilton not worried about Rays' shift
ST. PETERSBURG -- For the Rangers, there's a bring-it-on philosophy when it comes to opponents who put on an infield shift.The Rays have employed the tactic against Josh Hamilton and even Mitch Moreland, but heading into Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday, Hamilton and manager Ron Washington were firm that it doesn't change their approach. "They shift Hamilton, he'd still beat it," Washington said during Sunday's workout at Tropicana Field. "If that's your strength, you hit into it. I know when I played, I used to hit the ball to right field, and if everybody shifts to right field, at least I'd know they were throwing me away. That was my strength. ... Sometimes I made outs, and sometimes I beat 'em. At least I didn't have to guess on where he was throwing the ball." Hamilton sends most balls he puts in play up the middle, but he has the most success on balls hit to right field. His lifetime average on balls hit to right is .464. Hamilton said he noticed the Rays shifting on him earlier in the year, but now he's not paying it much mind. "Yeah, I noticed it earlier in year, that's just because you see a big gaping hole," Hamilton said. "Now it's at a point where it's just, might see the shift, but if you hit it hard enough, they're pretty not much going to catch it anyway. Don't worry about trying to guide it anywhere, just hit it where it's pitched." Hamilton has reached base in four of eight ALDS plate appearances, three times via hit, once by walk. He's already surpassed his hit total from last year's five-game ALDS, when he had just two in 20 plate appearances.
Potential World Series tickets sell out
ARLINGTON -- The remaining tickets for potential 2011 World Series games at the Ballpark in Arlington were completely exhausted during Sunday's online sale. All three potential games are complete sellouts.Approximately 7,000 reserved seats, obstructed-view and standing-room tickets remain for a potential Game 5 of the American League Division Series between the Rangers and Rays. If necessary, that game would be played on Thursday at the Ballpark in Arlington. Those tickets can be purchased through texasrangers.com, by calling 972-RANGERS or at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington box office.
T.R. Sullivan and Evan Drellich are reporters for MLB.com. Read T.R.'s 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.