John Blake has just tweeted that the Rangers have activated pitcher Alexi Ogando from the 15 day disabled list, and to make room for him on the 25 man roster, have optioned lefthanded reliever Joe Ortiz to AAA. Ogando is starting tonight's game against the Boston Red Sox.
I expect some to immediately be asking, "Why is Ortiz being sent down instead of Michael Kirkman?"
The short answer to this question is, Ortiz has options and Kirkman doesn't. The Rangers can send Ortiz down and keep him in the organization. If they want to send Kirkman down, he has to clear waivers, and someone would likely claim him. This organization tends to err on the side of keeping players rather than losing them.
The longer answer is that, realistically, Ortiz hasn't been any better than Kirkman this year. Ortiz got off to a great start, Ron Washington rode him heavily early on, and since then, Ortiz hasn't been as sharp, whether because he's tired, was overused, just isn't pitching well, or whatever.
Kirkman has a 6.95 ERA in 22 innings, with a 3.29 FIP and a 4.26 xFIP. Ortiz has a 5.13 ERA in 26.1 innings, with a 5.04 FIP and a 4.14 xFIP. Kirkman's problem is that he's allowed a .458 BABIP. Ortiz's problem is that he's given up too many homers.
Either way, neither has been effective for a while, and it is hard to definitively state that one has out-pitched the other. In a situation like that, the guy with options is the one who gets dropped from the active roster.