Texas Rangers pitcher Dane Dunning was activated from the COVID-19 injured list on Friday, the team announced. To make room for Dunning on the active roster, the Rangers optioned pitcher Demarcus Evans to AAA Round Rock.
Dunning pitched an inning for the Rangers in their 10-5 loss to Oakland on Friday, his first action since starting against Boston on August 20. The Rangers have been managing his innings and workload since he missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery, and had just 34 innings in 2020 due to recovery and the COVID pandemic. With just 20 games remaining in the season, Dunning having logged 105 solid innings in 2021 already, and his having had this three week layoff due to being in the COVID protocols, I suspect he will mostly be used in a tandem setup the rest of the way, making three or four more appearances with a total of ten or so innings.
Evans, meanwhile, heads back to AAA. He has shown flashes this season, and has pitched more than I initially had thought — he has appeared in 25 games for the Rangers this year. But while Evans has shown he has swing-and-miss stuff, he also has not been able to consistently command his stuff well enough to be able to seize a role in the bullpen this year.
The Rangers still have three players — Drew Anderson, Mike Foltynewicz and Brock Holt — on the COVID-19 injured list. Anderson is with Round Rock and is expected to have a rehab appearance soon. Brock Holt is apparently with the club right now, while Foltynewicz is rehabbing in Arizona, but its possible neither of them ends up returning to the active roster this year, given the current roster situation and the fact the season ends in roughly three weeks.