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Saunders returns to rotation in place of Baker

Saunders returns to rotation in place of Baker

DETROIT -- Joe Saunders is returning to the rotation and is scheduled to pitch against the Twins on Wednesday in Minnesota.

Saunders will replace Scott Baker, who allowed six runs in six innings in a 7-2 loss to the Tigers on Friday. Saunders has been sidelined since his first and only start on April 4 with a stress fracture in his left ankle. He was 0-2 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts on a rehab assignment.

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The Rangers have three options with Baker.

The Rangers could put Baker in the bullpen but there doesn't appear to be any room. Two of the younger relievers -- Aaron Poreda and Shawn Tolleson -- have pitched well in middle relief. Poreda has a 3.00 ERA while Tolleson has a 3.33 ERA.

They could have Baker replace rookie Nick Martinez in the rotation. But right now Martinez is throwing as good as anybody on the staff. The Rangers could also put Baker through outright waivers and send him back to Triple-A Round Rock. Baker could also refuse the assignment and become a free agent, although he declined that earlier this month when he cleared waivers.

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.

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