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Rangers option reliever Mann to Round Rock

Bibens-Dirkx tabbed to start series opener against Royals
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister did something on Thursday he has never done before when he told reliever Brandon Mann that he was being optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.

"First time I've ever sent out a pitcher who hasn't given up a run," Banister said.

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ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister did something on Thursday he has never done before when he told reliever Brandon Mann that he was being optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.

"First time I've ever sent out a pitcher who hasn't given up a run," Banister said.

View Full Game Coverage

Mann was optioned to make room for right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who started the series opener against the Royals at Globe Life Park. Mann pitched in three games for the Rangers and did not allow a run. He gave up two hits, walked two and struck out one.

It was his first time in the Major Leagues after 15 years of pitching in the Minor, independent and Japanese Leagues. It's unlikely to be his last.

"I think he knew, but he has great confidence," Banister said. "He knows the landscape, the opportunity to come back is real. You never use just 25, they all know that. The second chapter of that story has yet to be written. It will get an opportunity to be written at some point."

Mann was not on the 40-man roster when he was first called up on May 13. A spot came open for him when Renato Nunez was designated for assignment. Now that Mann is on the 40-man, it makes it easier to be called up when there is a need.

"Now it's not so much proving to them that I can pitch in the big leagues," Mann said. "I know what I need to work on to be even more successful. I believe 100 percent in my heart of hearts that I will be back."

Celebration for Colon
The Rangers were planning a big surprise for Bartolo Colon before Thursday's game against the Royals.

"Probably something that nobody has done to him in his life," shortstop Elvis Andrus said.

So what is it?

"It's a surprise. ... I can't tell you," Andrus said.

The surprise was Colon being shoved head-first into his birthday cake. He is slated to start on Saturday and he will be the first Major League player 45-and-over since Omar Vizquel in 2012. Some of his teammates don't see it happening to them.

"I don't think I would be able to move," Andrus said. "My body wouldn't let me play at 45."

"It's hard to think about," pitcher Mike Minor said. "I'm only 30. I couldn't imagine pitching 15 more years."

Adrian Beltre only needs six more years.

"I would be divorced," Beltre said. "My wife would divorce me."

Rangers beat
• Left-hander Matt Moore, on the disabled list with a sore right knee, threw 70 pitches over four simulated innings of batting practice on Thursday. Beltre was among those who hit against Moore during the session. The Rangers will see how Moore responds, but he could return to the rotation on Tuesday against the Mariners.

• This was the second straight day that Beltre has taken batting practice on the field. He has been sidelined for two weeks with a strained left hamstring.

"It was good to get out there and see how I feel," Beltre said. "Swinging the bat is OK. It is a work in progress. That's always the first thing I can do is hit. The rest of it, taking ground balls, moving side to side and starting to run, that's secondary. It's day by day. Obviously it's not going to be tomorrow or the next day, but we'll see how it goes. "

• With Bibens-Dirkx pitching and Isiah Kiner-Falefa playing third base on Thursday, the Rangers are the first Major League team in history to have a lineup with two hyphenated last names. They also had Shin-Soo Choo at designated hitter.

• Bibens-Dirkx was called up instead of Yovani Gallardo, who has made seven starts at Round Rock since being signed to a Minor League contract. Gallardo is 0-1 with a 4.55 ERA while averaging 9.4 hits, 3.1 walks and 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

"Very similar to what we've seen in the past," Banister said. "Controlling the strike zone with his secondary stuff. He can throw the baseball where he wants to. No negative reports. They have all been positive."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Bartolo Colon, Brandon Mann