The 45-year-old Colon is 7-11 with a 5.45 ERA. The Rangers made the move before Friday night's game at San Francisco.
Colon was scratched from a start last Sunday against the Angels because of back stiffness. He pitched Monday at Oakland and was tagged for seven runs and 10 hits in five innings. Colon had won two starts in a row after losing five straight.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister said the injury isn't believed to be serious. He said Colon will go back in the rotation when he comes off the DL.
"More tightness than anything else," Banister said, "so we felt it was an opportunity where we could give him a little extra rest and we can get a position player up here to help us in a National League ballpark."
The move is retroactive to Tuesday.
Earlier this month, Colon became the winningest pitcher born in Latin America in major league history. The Dominican Republic native posted his 246th victory, passing Nicaraguan Dennis Martinez.
The Rangers recalled infielder Hanser Alberto from Triple-A Round Rock before playing the Giants.