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Colon stays as Rangers option Leclerc

Veteran righty will work out of bullpen; Chirinos gets day off; Barnette making progress
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

OAKLAND -- Bartolo Colon is now a reliever, but he is still in the Major Leagues.

The Rangers optioned reliever Jose Leclerc to Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday to make room for Martin Perez, who was activated off the disabled list. The move allows the Rangers to keep Colon, and they will use him out of the bullpen.

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OAKLAND -- Bartolo Colon is now a reliever, but he is still in the Major Leagues.

The Rangers optioned reliever Jose Leclerc to Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday to make room for Martin Perez, who was activated off the disabled list. The move allows the Rangers to keep Colon, and they will use him out of the bullpen.

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The exact role is yet to be determined. Jesse Chavez will still be the Rangers' long man, although he is unlikely to be available on Thursday after throwing 41 pitches in Wednesday's 6-2 loss to the Athletics. Colon pitched six innings on Monday, but told manager Jeff Banister he is available to pitch.

Video: TEX@OAK: Colon limits A's to one run over six innings

"Given how we have pitched, there will be plenty of opportunities for Bartolo to pitch," Banister said. "It is more about keeping our depth and having Jose go down and continue to pitch and be ready the next time there is an opportunity."

Banister said the Rangers will stay with the set rotation of Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Mike Minor and Perez. They will continue to pitch on four days' rest, with the exception of Minor -- the Rangers will look for opportunities to give him extra days off, since he is being used as a starter for the first time since 2014.

There are no plans, right now, for Colon to start.

"It's not necessary at this point," Banister said.

Leclerc was sent down despite not allowing a run in three innings and holding opponents to a 1-for-9 with one walk and three strikeouts. But he is one of the Rangers' relievers with options, so he was the odd man out.

"Anytime you are sent out, it's not what you want to hear," Banister said. "Part of being able to play at this level is being able to handle these situations, go down, pitch well and be ready when the next opportunity comes. This was out of his control."

Chirinos' wrist better, gets day off
Robinson Chirinos was out of the lineup on Thursday, but it was more about giving him a regular day off rather than concerns over his left wrist. Chirinos is dealing with soreness in the wrist from a play at the plate in Wednesday's game, but he does not expect it to keep him out of the lineup.

Video: TEX@OAK: Chirinos shaken up following tag at home

"It's good ... better than expected," Chirinos said Thursday morning. "It's sore, but a good sore."

Banister said he was planning to give Chirinos a day off anyway because he had started three straight night games and Thursday was a day game. Juan Centeno made his second start instead.

Rangers beat
• The Rangers have sent pitcher Tony Barnette to Double-A Frisco on a medical rehab assignment. Barnette, on the disabled list with tightness in his back, is scheduled to throw one inning Thursday and Friday.

• The Rangers have assigned catcher Brett Nicholas from Triple-A Round Rock for extended Spring Training. The move comes after the Rangers acquired catcher Cameron Rupp to be their depth catcher at Round Rock, with Isiah Kiner-Falefa as his backup.

• Left-hander David Hurlbut has been scratched as Round Rock's starter for Thursday because of a minor calf injury. Right-hander David Ledbetter will start in his place.

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, Tony Barnette, Robinson Chirinos, Bartolo Colon, Jose Leclerc