Minneapolis, Minn. - The Texas Rangers announced this afternoon that the club has activated left-handed pitcher Joe Saunders off the 15-day disabled list. To make room for Saunders on the active roster, the team has optioned left-handed pitcher Aaron Poreda to Triple-A Round Rock. Additionally, the club has received right-handed pitcher Phil Irwin on a waiver claim from the Pittsburgh Pirates and optioned him to Triple-A Round Rock.
Saunders is scheduled to start tonight's game against the Twins in Minnesota. It will be his second start and appearance of the season for Texas, as he was the Rangers' fourth starter to open the season before leaving his lone outing on April 4 at Tampa Bay due to injury. Saunders was struck by an Evan Longoria liner off his left ankle with 2 outs in the 4th inning in that start, and was placed on the disabled list April 7 (retroactive to April 5) with a bruised left ankle, although the injury was eventually determined to be a stress fracture in the ankle.
Saunders made 4 starts on injury rehabilitation assignments with Frisco (AA) and Round Rock (AAA) this month, going 0-1 with a 3.80 ERA in those outings. His last game was May 20 vs. Iowa (ND, 7.0 IP, 8 H, 1 R-ER, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 101 pitches/56 strikes).
Poreda has gone 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA (5 ER/13.1 IP) in 15 relief appearances for Texas since his contract was purchased from Round Rock on April 18. He began his Rangers career with 9 consecutive scoreless appearances in his first major league action since 2009.
Irwin, 27, has spent the entire season with Triple-A Indianapolis, going 1-2 with an 8.72 ERA (21 ER/21.2 IP) over 10 games/2 starts. The right-hander was limited to just 3 games in 2013, including his major league debut on April 13, 2013 vs. Cincinnati, due to ulnar nerve transposition surgery on his right elbow on July 3. He missed the remainder of the regular season, but returned to make 5 starts for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League. The Ole Miss product entered the 2014 campaign with a 3.09 ERA (137 ER/399.0 IP) in 74 career starts at the minor league level.
After today's moves, the Rangers now have a full 40-man roster.