Joe Saunders gets start vs. Twins

Texas Rangers left-handed pitcher Joe Saunders returns to the mound for the first time since the first week of the season Wednesday. To make room for him, the club optioned reliever Aaron Poreda to Triple-A Round Rock.

The Rangers also picked up right-handed pitcher Phil Irwin off a waiver claim from Pittsburgh and optioned him to Round Rock.

Saunders, scheduled to start Wednesday’s game against the Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, is making his second start of 2014 and his first since he was struck by a line-drive off the bat of Evan Longoria on April 4. Saunders suffered a stress fracture that put him on the disabled list. He made four rehab starts in preparation for Wednesday’s outing.

He gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits in 3 2/3 innings in a loss to Tampa Bay before he was hit in the left ankle and lifted from the game.

Poreda was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 15 relief appearances for the Rangers since he was called up April 18.

Irwin, 27, has spent the 2014 season in Triple-A Indianapolis going 1-2 with an 8.72 ERA in 10 games (two starts). He had ulnar nerve transposition surgery on his elbow July 3, 2013, just three games into his first big league season.