The Texas Rangers activated Dane Dunning from the injured list prior to last night’s game against the Seattle Mariners. To make room for Dunning on the active roster, the Rangers optioned Taylor Hearn to AAA Round Rock.
Dunning’s return to the rotation last night was okay, as he allowed two runs over five innings, both of the runs coming in the first inning, when he gave up three of the four hits he allowed on the night and two of the three walks. It was a return of the First Inning Dane Dunning Experience, which makes you a bit nostalgic, but hopefully we won’t keep seeing that in the second half.
With Dunning in the rotation, Taylor Hearn is once again the odd man out, and he will return to Round Rock with the Rangers trying to figure out how best to utilize him. Hearn has been used in shorter stints with an opener his last three outings in the majors, putting up a 1.59 ERA and a 2.50 FIP in 11.1 IP. The team has said that Hearn’s stuff may play best in shorter, but still multi-inning, bursts, rather than as a starter, and you could see Hearn potentially filling a role sort of like what Brock Burke has this season, being used a couple of times a week out of the pen for, say, three innings at a time.
It will be interesting to see how Hearn is used in Round Rock — whether he goes back into the Express rotation, if he pitches bulk early innings behind an opener, or if he is used in a sort of multi-inning mid- to late-inning fireman role.