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Texas sends down prospects Olt, Martin03/24/2012 11:34 PM ET
By David Heck / Special to MLB.com
Mike Olt and Leonys Martin survived to be two of the last top prospects left playing in Major League Spring Training. That run came to an end on Saturday, however, when the pair met the same fate as most of their peers.
The Rangers sent their No. 3 and No. 4 prospects down to Minor League camp along with four other players. Neither player took part in the club's 3-2 loss to the Angels on Saturday.
After hitting .267 with 14 home runs during an injury-plagued season for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, Olt recovered well during the Arizona Fall League. He batted .349 with 13 homers in 27 games there, parlaying the experience into an invitation to Major League camp.
Olt did not perform as well offensively this spring, hitting .200 with three extra-base hits in 17 games. Normally a third baseman, the 23-year-old played six games at first base as the team attempts to increase his versatility. He made one error in 23 innings there while playing flawless defense in 45 frames at the hot corner.
"He's a baseball player," manager Ron Washington told MLB.com. "He can play third base, he has a good arm and tremendous raw power. He just need to go out and play."
Martin posted slightly better offensive numbers in Spring Training, batting .222 with a pair of homers in 16 contests. Signed by the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent in 2011, the 24-year-old outfielder worked his way up from Double-A to the Majors last year in his first professional season. He batted .295 with four homers and 19 steals in the Minors, then hit .375 in eight big league games.
Among the other Rangers cuts was No. 20 prospect Engel Beltre, who the team obtained from the Red Sox in the 2007 trade that sent Eric Gagne to Boston. After going a combined 1-for-23 in his last two Spring Training experiences, Beltre went 6-for-24 with six RBIs this time around.
"He has shown some maturity," Washington told MLB.com. "His game is much better than it was the past two years. I think he's back to being a big part of the Texas Rangers. He handled himself well compared to the first two years. He wasn't overwhelmed. He felt he belonged."