Ron Washington’s response after seeing his center fielder test his heavily taped ankle 3½ hours before Monday’s game: No.
The Texas Rangers manager was glad to hear Martin wants to return after being out since Saturday night’s collision with fellow outfielder David Murphy while they ran down a fly ball hit by White Sox slugger Paul Konerko in Chicago. And, after watching Martin run in the Safeco Field outfield, Washington was glad to see him running well again.
“We’ll visit getting him back in there [Tuesday],” Washington said, after deciding Craig Gentry would start in center field and lead off for the second consecutive game.
Martin says the ankle still bothers him when he plants his lead, right foot and then turns on it to hit.
“It doesn’t hurt when I run, but I feel something when I try to hit -- but not too much,” he said, declaring he was available to pinch run or as a defensive replacement Monday.
“Maybe [Tuesday]. ... They just want me to be 100 percent and do all the exercises.”
Martin had to be helped off the field Saturday in Chicago and said he felt so much pain initially he feared the ankle was broken. But he has since responded well to treatment.
Washington said Martin’s pain when he plants to swing the bat is something he is going to have to work through mentally. It sounds like he will get that chance Tuesday.
Martin is 1-for-9 in his career against Seattle’s Tuesday starter, All-Star Hisashi Iwakuma.
Martin has one hit in his past 14 at-bats and is 5-for-29 (.172) in his past eight games. His .271 batting average is at its lowest point since June 18.
Yet there is a reason Washington wants him back in the lineup. In Martin’s past 23 starts in the leadoff spot, the Rangers are 19-4.
Berkman to return Sunday: Washington said the Rangers plan to activate veteran Lance Berkman on Sunday, when the rosters expand for September.
The 37-year-old six-time All-Star has had knee problems for years and developed inflammation in his left hip over the summer. He hasn’t played since July 6. A day later, he went on the 15-day disabled list. The Rangers sent him to Double-A Frisco two weeks ago on a rehabilitation assignment.
“He’s coming along,” Washington said. “We gave him this time so we can get him further ahead.”
Berkman still could make a potential postseason roster for the Rangers with a hot September, although it remains to be seen how healthy he will be and how limited his role might be. He is batting .254 with six home runs and 34 RBIs in 68 games as a designated hitter and first baseman in his first American League season, after spending 14 years in the National League.
Feliz returning, too: The Rangers also are planning to active relief pitcher Neftali Feliz on Sunday. That will mark 13 months to the day after the 25-year-old right-hander had Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery in his pitching elbow.
Texas’ closer in 2010 and '11, then a starter to begin last year, he hasn’t pitched for the Rangers since May 18, 2012.
Washington reported Feliz was throwing at 93 mph Sunday night in his most recent minor league rehabilitation assignment for Triple-A Round Rock, a few notches below where he was before the injury. Sunday was the first time this year he had thrown two innings.
But Washington said that won’t be what Feliz will be doing in September for his Rangers.
“He’ll have a role [in the bullpen], but it won’t be prime,” Washington said. “You don’t expect to have a prime role coming off Tommy John [surgery].
“We’ll put him in there [in situations] to have success. We won’t throw him to the wolves. ... If he can throw at 92, 93 and use his changeup, he’ll be effective.”