CLEVELAND -- In order to open a roster spot for Andrew Cashner to come off the disabled list and start Thursday's game against the Indians at Progressive Field, the Rangers optioned reliever Preston Claiborne to Triple-A Round Rock.Cashner was activated from the 10-day DL after missing more than two weeks
CLEVELAND -- In order to open a roster spot for Andrew Cashner to come off the disabled list and start Thursday's game against the Indians at Progressive Field, the Rangers optioned reliever Preston Claiborne to Triple-A Round Rock.
Cashner was activated from the 10-day DL after missing more than two weeks with a left oblique strain, and he made his first start since June 14. Although he was not sent on a Minor League rehab assignment, Cashner threw several bullpen sessions to make his way back to form.
"Early on, treatment was minor in a sense, comparative to others," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "[It's] not an arm injury. That oblique, side-type situation. Once he got back throwing into the throwing program, his arm was still strong enough in his bullpen sessions and he was able to have the heavy-loaded bullpens to where he could get the pitch count up and still felt good."
Claiborne was recalled from Round Rock on June 22 to provide depth in the Rangers' bullpen. The demotion comes only three days after Claiborne made his season debut, when he allowed three runs on five hits with two strikeouts in two innings in Monday's 15-9 loss to the Indians. It marked the first time that Claiborne had pitched in a Major League game since Sept. 27, 2014, as a member of the Yankees.
In 12 starts this season entering Thursday, Cashner was 3-6 with a 3.50 ERA. He has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of his 12 outings.
"The biggest thing for me is getting first-pitch strikes," Cashner said Tuesday. "If I don't get the first one in there, I'll get the second one in there with my sinker. I think I've expanded when I need to expand, and I've been able to get the double-play ball when I've needed it."
With Cashner back on the mound, the Rangers' five-man starting rotation is almost back to 100 percent. Tyson Ross returned from the DL on June 16, and Cole Hamels did the same on Monday. Banister said that Martin Perez (fracture laceration of his right thumb) could return as early as next week.
• Before Banister made the decision to give Austin Bibens-Dirkx the nod for Friday's series opener against the White Sox, the skipper had Bibens-Dirkx and Nick Martinez as options to start the contest. Because Bibens-Dirkx got the edge, Martinez will remain available out of the bullpen for the time being.
"Both guys have thrown the ball well," Banister said. "Look at the body of work so far from Bibens, and I think [this is] an opportunity for Nick to help us out in the bullpen."
• Banister said on Thursday that Perez has continued to throw regularly despite the thumb injury on his non-throwing hand.
"He doesn't need to throw a bullpen with a glove on his hand," Banister said. "He's been throwing every day. He's been out there going through that process. He hasn't caught a baseball in a glove back at him, no. Not yet. He's put his hand in a glove."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com.