DETROIT -- Reliever Joakim Soria has made just three appearances for the Rangers after being activated off the disabled list and missing 1 1/2 seasons because of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. But the Rangers aren't exactly easing him back.
Soria was called upon to face the heart of the Tigers order in the eighth inning Saturday night. The Rangers were leading, 4-1, when Soria came in to face Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez.
Soria struck out Cabrera, gave up a single to Fielder and then retired Martinez on a fly to left. That brought up Jhonny Peralta, and Soria struck him out to end the inning. He has not allowed a run in his three appearances.
"I don't feel anything is off," Soria said. "The most important thing is my command is still there. That's the only thing I was looking for. I was never a power pitcher, even at my best. My fastball was 89-92 or 93 when I felt good. Most of the time it's all about location."
Soria's return gives manager Ron Washington two right-handed options for the eighth inning. Tanner Scheppers, who is 5-1 with a 1.84 ERA in 43 appearances, has done the job most of the season but Soria's presence will allow Washington to reduce his workload.
"It just depends; there are some nights when Scheppers will be there in the eighth and nights where it will be Soria," Washington said. "We're very fortunate because we've got two guys. This way we keep both of them sharp."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.