Phil Irwin to start for injured Martinez, Rangers use extra arm in ‘pen

Phil Irwin to start for injured Martinez, Rangers use extra arm in ‘pen

Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Nick Martinez (22) throws in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

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by LANDON HAAF

WFAA Sports

Posted on July 7, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Rangers starting pitcher Nick Martinez has been scratched from his start Tuesday because of a pulled muscle in his back, according to general manager Jon Daniels.

Martinez said his back was aggravated after his start last Tuesday and it lingered while he was taking batting practice Wednesday. He has felt discomfort in his back before, but it usually goes away the next day, he said.

The pulled muscle bothered Martinez when he tried to throw a bullpen, and that is likely the cause for shutting him down before the All-Star break.

Phil Irwin, who was held out of his scheduled Triple-A start Sunday, will make the Tuesday start in Arlington. Irwin got off to what he called a “shaky start” with the Pirates this season before finding a spot in the Rangers’ organization. His goal is to not put too much pressure on himself in his time with Texas.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself in my debut, and it didn’t go very well,” Irwin said. “I’m just going to try relax and go out there and be the pitcher that I know I am and not be anybody else.”

Irwin said his work with Round Rock pitching coach Brad Holman helped him fix mechanical issues that negatively affected him early in the year. Once he got those things straightened out, he said, things started clicking.

What to expect from Irwin, according to enigmatic minor league reporter @TepidP on twitter:

No official roster move has been made with Irwin, who was in Arlington Monday. The club will make the official announcement Tuesday.

In the series of roster moves Monday, reliever Roman Mendez was recalled from Round Rock to add an extra arm in the bullpen. Daniels said the club would go with an extra reliever and a three-man bench until the All-Star break.

“We’ve taxed our bullpen pretty heavy here the last few weeks, especially with a stretch of 20 in a row without a day off,” he said. “The extra reliever will help spread the workload around.”

Mendez, the recommendation of the Triple-A staff, will be in uniform Monday seeking his major league debut. He has gone 0-1 with three saves and a 4.02 ERA in 25 relief appearances for Round Rock this season in his first career Triple-A action.

Our own Kate Morrison labeled Mendez as the next best option in for a bullpen call-up in her Minor League Mailbag at the end of May.

Mendez pitched two innings Sunday.

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