5/25/2014 12:57 P.M. ET
Saunders set to return to rotation
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Joe Saunders is ready to return to the rotation and Scott Baker should be available as a reliever on Monday. But the Rangers aren't revealing what roster move they'll make on Wednesday when Saunders is activated off the disabled list to start against the Twins.
"I don't have any comment on that right now," manager Ron Washington said before Sunday's game against the Tigers.
Saunders has been sidelined since his only start on April 4 against the Rays. He was hit on the left ankle by a shot off the bat of Evan Longoria and has been sidelined since then with a stress fracture. He has made four starts on a rehab assignment, two at Double-A Frisco and two at Triple-A Round Rock.
"I'm ready to go," Saunders said. "You take my first start at Triple-A, two runs in five innings. My last outing, one run in seven innings. I'm getting a lot of ground balls. I feel like my mechanics are right on point."
Saunders had a short Spring Training. The Rangers signed him three weeks into camp and put the rush on to get him ready for Opening Day. The time on the disabled list not only allowed the ankle to heal, but to get him more properly prepared for a Major League season.
"It could have been a blessing in disguise," Saunders said. "Maybe I wasn't ready to go through April. Maybe the line drive off the ankle was a wakeup call. God works in mysterious ways."
Ailing Choo stays in lineup at DH
DETROIT -- Shin-Soo Choo was at designated hitter on Sunday, one day after coming out of the Rangers' 12-2 victory over the Tigers in the sixth inning with a sore left ankle.
Sunday marked the ninth time in 24 starts that Choo has been used at designated hitter since he sprained the ankle on April 21 against the Athletics. The Rangers are resigned to the idea that Choo will need more time at designated hitter than originally planned because of the ankle.
"He is going to have to manage it all year," manager Ron Washington said. "Some days are going to bother him more than others. In this ballpark and against this team, he has been doing a lot of running out there."
Choo also tried stealing third base in the first inning on Saturday. Mitch Moreland was at the plate and struck out on a full-count pitch. Choo was originally called safe but the call was overturned after a replay review.
Either way, Washington said it was not a smart play and sliding hard into third base did not help the ankle.
"If you do go, all excuses are off," Washington said. "You have to make it."
Choo went into Sunday's game hitting .403 on the road, the highest average in the Major Leagues. He had a .513 on-base percentage and a .629 slugging percentage.
Robertson waiting for protective mask
DETROIT -- Memorial Day weekend is a bad time to be waiting for a protective mask, and Rangers outfielder Daniel Robertson is unavailable until he gets one. The plan is to be fitted for one on Tuesday in Minnesota and be ready to play on Wednesday. The Rangers couldn't arrange for anything over the Memorial Day weekend in Detroit.
"I could play today but it would be risking further injury," Robertson said.
Robertson is currently sidelined with three small fractures in his left cheek bone after his outfield collision with Alex Rios on Thursday. He also still has a black left eye.
Robertson will wear a special batting helmet at the plate along with a clear hard plastic mask. He will use the mask on defense too.
"Just like basketball players wear," Robertson said. "I hope it's clear so I don't look like some super hero. But I don't care what I look like as long as I'm on the field."
Prince injury surprises former manager
DETROIT -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is among those surprised to see Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder go down for the season with a herniated disc in his neck. Roenicke was Fielder's last manager in Milwaukee and saw the beginning of his streak of 564 consecutive games played that came to an end with the neck injury.
Fielder had never been on the disabled list in his career until being placed there on Friday. Fielder is expected to undergo surgery on Tuesday and be out the rest of the season.
"I never even thought about him not being in the lineup, which is so different," Roenicke told reporters. "As a manager you're always thinking, 'OK, this guy's played 15 in a row I probably need to give him a day off.' I never had to think about that with Prince. I did ask Prince a couple of times during the season and his response was, 'there was just no question he was going to be out there,' so it made it real nice to have a player or fortunate to have two or three like that."
"You don't always start your lineup with one. There's a lot of times you know what you've got and you work both ways. He was a guy you put in four-[hole] and when [Ryan Braun is] here you put him in three and now you just figure it out from there."
• Tanner Scheppers, on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, threw one inning on a medical rehabilitation assignment for Double-A Frisco on Saturday night. He allowed one unearned run on one hit and a walk while striking out one. He threw 21 pitches. He is expected to be transferred to Triple-A Round Rock to continue his assignment.
• Rougned Odor, who doesn't turn 21 until next February, joined the company of two Hall of Famers with four hits, including two triples, and five RBIs on Saturday. He is the first player under 21 to have four hits, including two triples, in a game since Rogers Hornsby on June 28, 1916. He is the first player under 21 to have four hits and five RBIs in a game since Al Kaline in 1955.
• The only other Rangers player with at least four hits and five RBIs from the No. 9 spot was Ramon Vazquez during the record-breaking 30-3 victory over the Orioles on Aug. 22, 2007.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.