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TEX@SEA: Martinez holds Mariners to two runs over six

Rangers right-hander Nick Martinez has made only 13 Major League appearances.

Eight of them have been starts.

Because of a Rangers squad that has been hit relentlessly with injuries, Martinez's transition to the Majors -- and then from the bullpen into a starting role -- has been unconventionally quick.

He has yet to pitch at the Triple-A level, and had just 32 innings pitched above Class A before this season.

Just last year, the now 23-year-old was playing in the Carolina League as an All-Star.

"It was a shock in the beginning, it's been a lot of fun ever since," Martinez said of his rapid rise.

He'll get the start Saturday when the Rangers take on the Angels in the second of a three-game series. The Angels took Friday's opener, 7-3.

In his last start against the Mariners on Sunday, Martinez went six innings, allowing two earned runs. He's 1-4 on the season with a 4.44 ERA, and meets the Angels again after pitching 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief against them May 4 in a 14-3 Rangers win.

"Fastball command," he said of what was working Sunday. "The three starts before, I was too fine with the fastball. I was nibbling. I fell in love with the scouting report and was trying to hit the exact spot."

Martinez will face Jered Weaver, who has led the American League in strikeouts and has been a 20-game winner, but still struggles to keep the ball in the park. Weaver is among the league leaders in home runs allowed with 14.

It's all about location for the crossfiring right-hander, who gave up only 17 homers last year in 24 starts.

"It's no secret -- I just can't stay away from the home-run ball," Weaver said. "It's been killing me lately, and that was the difference in the game again [Monday]."

Weaver was referring to a 4-3 loss to the Indians in which he gave up a two-run homer in the first inning. He's lost his last two starts this season, after having three straight losses last year in June, when he opened the season 1-5 before finishing 11-8. Angels manager Mike Scioscia has faith in his ace.

"When Weav hits his spots, he's tough to beat," Scioscia said. "He knows how to pitch."

Angels: Bullpen struggling as of late
The Angels came into the series with the Rangers with a 13-18 record against the AL West, and third in the AL in starters' ERA at 3.64. Only Oakland (3.07) and Seattle (3.51) were better.

But while the rotation has been solid, the Angels bullpen has been a different story. Its 4.46 ERA is 11th best in the AL. Closer Ernesto Frieri has a 5.83 ERA and has given up eight homers in 29 1/3 innings.

"Bullpens are a critical part of a winning club," Scioscia said, adding that he plans to experiment for an effective combination. "You need to be able to get those last four to six outs with consistency."

Rangers: Choo still struggling offensively
Rangers manager Ron Washington said Friday he isn't concerned by outfielder Shin-Soo Choo's prolonged cold spell "because he has a track record."

Choo is in a 8-for-57 drought, but had hits in two of three at-bats Wednesday against the A's and was 1-for-4 on Friday against the Angels. He's playing with a sore ankle, but Washington said it doesn't affect his hitting.

"He's a proven player," Washington said of Choo, who ranked behind only Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera in times reached base by Major League players in 2012-13. "I'm just figuring he's struggling,"

Worth noting
• Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor had the day off Friday, but will return to the lineup Saturday.

• Angels center fielder Mike Trout is the first player in history with at least 300 runs, 75 homers and 75 steals in his first 400 games. Comments