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Martin to start in center in spring opener

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Leonys Martin will start in center field when the Rangers face the Royals in their first spring game on Friday at 2:05 p.m. CT in Surprise. Manager Ron Washington said Craig Gentry will start on Saturday, and Julio Borbon on Sunday.

That will begin the competition to be the Rangers' starting center fielder. From there, it will be up to Washington to find playing time for all three that would give them both a fair shot at the job and enough at-bats to get ready for the season. Rotating all three through center field isn't going to be enough, so there will be times any of the three could be asked to play one of the corner spots.

"I may not get them all equal playing time, but I need to make sure they get their repetitions," Washington said.

The Rangers will have extra playing time for outfielders because Nelson Cruz is leaving the team the first week in March to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Mike Olt will likely play some right field during Cruz's absence, but he is still working with outfield coach Gary Pettis.

"I haven't sat down with Gary yet," Washington said. "When he tells me Olt is ready to go, he's ready to go. But we haven't had that conversation yet."