Rangers' Francisco returns to action

Rangers' Francisco returns to action

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers activated Frank Francisco from the disabled list before Sunday's game against the Mariners. He was overcoming a case of mild pneumonia.

Francisco was placed on the DL on July 20. He hasn't pitched since July 10.

"I feel good, feel really good," he said. "I was waiting to get my strength back. This was what I was waiting for."

To make room on the 25-man roster for Francisco, Warner Madrigal was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was called up on June 30 for his fourth stint in the Major Leagues this season.

Madrigal posted a 9.31 ERA over 10 relief appearances for the Rangers. He is 2-0 with 12 saves and a 1.83 ERA over 32 relief appearances with Oklahoma City.

Francisco threw a scoreless eighth inning for Double-A Frisco on Friday in San Antonio. He allowed one hit, struck out a batter and needed 24 pitches.

That was a bit different from his last rehabilitation outing, when he only threw nine pitches in a 1-2-3 outing with Frisco. This outing allowed Francisco to use all of his pitches. He said his velocity and command felt good.

More importantly, Francisco is healthy. He only has a cough when he exerts himself heavily.

Francisco has put up a 2.28 ERA over 27 2/3 innings for the Rangers this season. He has a 2-1 record with 15 saves in 28 appearances. Opponents are hitting .180 against him.

This was his third stint on the DL this season. The other two came May 7-21 with right biceps tendinitis and June 4-19 with right shoulder tendinitis.

Manager Ron Washington said Francisco will be eased back into the closer's role.

"I don't think you're going to see him jump back in the closing role," Washington said. "We're going to work him back slowly. He hasn't been out there in 21 days. Only Superman could do that -- getting outs in the ninth after [a DL stint]."

Washington doesn't have a set idea of where to pitch Francisco, whether as a setup man or middle reliever. For now, C.J. Wilson remains the team's closer.

Daniel Paulling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.