7/7/2014 7:57 P.M. ET
Rangers send down struggling Choice
By Grace Raynor / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Just a day after they arrived back in Texas from a seven-game road trip in which they went 1-6, the Rangers made four roster moves Monday.
Michael Choice has been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock, while Donnie Murphy has been designated for assignment. The Rangers have recalled right-handed pitcher Roman Mendez and have purchased the contract of outfielder Jake Smolinski.
Mendez and Smolinski will be available Monday against the Astros. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels spoke with the media Monday about the moves.
He started with Mendez, whose primary role will be to help out a bullpen that has been used quite a bit as of late.
"We're going with the extra reliever most likely just through the All-Star break. Obviously we've taxed our bullpen pretty heavy here the last few weeks especially in a stretch of 20 in a row without a day off," Daniels said. "It takes a toll. So we'll get the extra reliever to kind of help spread the workload around a little bit."
Daniels said Mendez, who has recorded 30 strikeouts in 25 relief Round Rock appearances, was a recommendation of the Triple-A staff.
The decision to option Choice was due to obvious offensive struggles. "He needed to go get himself together," Rangers manager RonWashington said. "We still have a lot of faith in him, it's just that his struggles have become mental."
As of Monday, Choice was batting just .177.
"We're all human. It's hard. Failure is hard and it's a reality at this level," Daniels said. "If you have a weakness, guys expose it. Until you can make that adjustment they're going to keep going back there."
Daniels said Nelson Cruz could serve as an example for Choice.
"Traded for him in 2006 -- high hopes, PCL MVP -- but it's really almost a two-year period until he established himself," Daniels said. " I don't think what Michael has to do is quite at that level and we expect it'll be a quicker turnaround, but a lot of very good players go through ups and downs."
The Rangers chose to bring Smolinski up over Engel Beltre and Jared Hoying, who hit .347 with six homers and 21 RBI in the month of June.
"He was up [in Triple-A] last year and [he's] a right-handed hitter," Daniels said of Smolinski. "Michael going down, it just felt like it was a little bit better fit right now -- let Jared continue building on what he's doing."
Martinez scratched from Tuesday start
ARLINGTON -- Rangers right-hander Nick Martinez has been scratched from his start against the Astros Tuesday with discomfort in his left side from batting practice last week.
The Rangers did not make an official roster move Monday, but Phil Irwin will be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to pitch Tuesday. Irwin was claimed from the Pirates about six weeks ago.
"I started off the year a little shaky with the Pirates and it felt really good to get to a new organization," Irwin said. "It's just my job to go out there and compete, and see if I can succeed. I think I've done that, and here we are."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said with the All-Star break ahead, Martinez will only miss two starts. He added he's been impressed with Irwin, who is 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA in Round Rock.
"Irwin's been throwing the ball really well at Triple-A," Daniels said. "Has got a very good curveball, looking forward to seeing what he's got."
Soto making strides; Adduci, Holland to get checked
ARLINGTON -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said that catcher Geovany Soto, who had surgery on his right knee at the conclusion of Spring Training, should be able to rejoin the Rangers in Toronto after the All-Star break if all goes as planned.
"Really the only physical restriction he's had now for a while is just a deep squat. With a torn meniscus that's really where it's at risk," Daniels said. "Obviously with being a catcher that's every single play of every game, so that's the main thing."
Daniels added that pitcher Derek Holland and outfielder Jim Adduci will have another visit with the medical staff.
Holland fell in his home in January and needed surgery to repair torn cartilage behind his knee. Adduci has fractured his left pinkie finger twice.
"I did hear on Adduci that he hit off the tee and it went pretty well so I think we're gonna ramp him up," Daniels said. "Derek, I don't have an update for you yet."
Do it for Durrett concert set for September
ARLINGTON -- To honor the late Richard Durrett, a reporter for ESPN Dallas who covered the Rangers, a benefit concert will take place Monday Sept. 8 at Billy Bob's Texas at 7 p.m.
Durrett passed suddenly June 18 at 38 years old, leaving behind his expectant wife and his two children.
Tickets for the concert will go on sale Friday, July 11 at 10 a.m. with Rhett Miller and Daphne Willis performing, among others. There will also be a sports auction.
"It's a wonderful night for a great cause," said Rangers TV personality Emily Jones in a Rangers release. "I can't believe the musical lineup we've been able to put together, and the auction items, too. I think that really speaks to what a great guy Richard was. This is a great way for people to support him and his family."
• Rangers assistant general manager A.J. Preller interviewed with the San Diego Padres Monday for the general manager position.
• The Rangers are 3-3 against the Astros on the season entering Monday night, and have taken 20 of the past 24.
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.