Harden set to return for Monday's start

Harden set to return for Monday's start

BALTIMORE -- The Rangers announced that right-hander Rich Harden will be activated from the disabled list to make Monday's start at home against Minnesota. Left-hander Derek Holland, who was prepared to pitch Monday, was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Left-handed reliever Mike Kirkman was recalled from Oklahoma City to take Holland's spot on the 25-man roster. Kirkman arrived at Camden Yards around 2:15 p.m. ET Friday and was prepared to make his Major League debut if called upon.

Harden was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, retroactive to Aug. 8, with right shoulder tendinitis. He made a rehabilitation start for Oklahoma City on Wednesday, allowing an unearned run on three hits over six innings, walking three and striking out 10.

"It went well, I thought like I threw well. No doubt in my mind [I would start Monday]," said Harden, who is 4-4 with a 5.45 ERA in 15 starts with Texas. "Hopefully, I get some quality starts going here and help the team out, help the team win. Maybe I can go out and pitch well. Mechanically I feel good. ... I'm ready to go."

Rangers manager Ron Washington said the 23-year-old Kirkland, who was 13-3 with a 3.09 ERA for Oklahoma City, would be used as a left-handed matchup specialist out of the bullpen. After making 22 starts for the RedHawks, Kirkland was moved to the bullpen a week ago in preparation for an eventual call to Texas.

"They told me it was a possibility when they were going to do it originally. I had no idea it was coming this soon," Kirkland said.

Kirkland's parents and his wife were with him in Oklahoma City on Thursday, when he was informed of his promotion, and Lorie Kirkland accompanied her husband to Camden Yards. When Kirkland makes his debut, he will be the 20th pitcher to be on the Rangers' active roster in 2010.

Washington was impressed with Kirkland's performance in Spring Training and knew it was just a matter of time before he joined the parent club.

"Instead of going and getting a particular guy for the bullpen," Washington said, "we went and got the best pitcher."

Holland was recalled from Oklahoma City to make Wednesday's start at Tampa Bay. He lost the game, allowing six hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings. Holland is 2-2 with a 5.32 ERA in six games with Texas this season.

Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.