HOUSTON -- Scott Baker had two chances to walk away from the Rangers. He has turned down both and now he is back in the big leagues.
Baker was called up on Wednesday to be the Rangers' long reliever as Justin Germano was designated for assignment. Baker knows what that feels like because the Rangers designated him for assignment last Thursday after he pitched 5 1/3 innings in relief against the Rockies the previous day. Baker had just been called up from Triple-A Round Rock that day.
The Rangers had to drop Baker from the roster because they needed an extra arm in the bullpen. Baker threw 79 pitches and wasn't going to be available for another three days. The Rangers couldn't wait and had to call up Germano.
"Obviously it had nothing to do with the results," Baker said. "I could see the writing on the wall. I could see there was still an immediate need for a pitcher. I was cautiously optimistic my performance would allow me to stay, but I couldn't have done anything for three days. I couldn't help the team. I didn't take it personally."
The Rangers put Baker through outright waivers. He cleared waivers, meaning there wasn't a big league opportunity elsewhere, and had the right to take his free agency. But he lives in Shreveport and wanted to stay close to home.
"It just didn't make sense to go anywhere else," Baker said. "I know there is as great a need here as there is anywhere else."
The Rangers will use Baker in long relief for now. They are looking for a fifth starter and Baker has made 162 starts in his career. He was a 15-game winner for the Twins in 2009. But he is not going to knock on somebody's door and tell them that he's ready to go into the rotation.
"There are two types of guys in baseball," Baker said. "Those who are humbled and those who are about to be humbled. At this point, I've had a great career. I'm happy to be here to contribute in any way, shape or form."
Baker, who missed almost two years in 2012-13 because of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, was signed to a Minor League contract in Spring Training. The contract included a provision allowing him to take his free agency on May 1 if he was not in the Major Leagues. Baker declined to do so then as well.
Rangers players go to the dogs
HOUSTON -- The Rangers and the Humane Society of North Texas have joined together to create a full color 26-card set of photos of Rangers players and dogs. The photos were taken by team photographer Kelly Gavin and players posed with either their own dogs or dogs that are available for adoption from the Humane Society of North Texas adoption centers.
The Dogs Safe at Home cards are four-by-six inches and contain full information on each dog pictured. The card set also has pet-care tips from the Humane Society of North Texas.
Rangers who participated in the photo shoots were Elvis Andrus, J.P. Arencibia, Adrian Beltre, Robinson Chirinos, Michael Choice, Shin-Soo Choo, Neal Cotts, Yu Darvish, Prince Fielder, Jason Frasor, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Leonys Martin, Mitch Moreland, Donnie Murphy, Alexi Ogando, Martin Perez, Jurickson Profar, Alex Rios. Robbie Ross, Jr., Tanner Scheppers, Joakim Soria, Geovany Soto, Shawn Tolleson, and manager Ron Washington.
Proceeds from the sales of the card set will benefit the Humane Society of North Texas. The card set will go on sale for the first time at a Humane Society of North Texas Adopt-a-Pet event on Saturday, June 7, sponsored by the Texas Rangers Wives Association before the Rangers 3:05 p.m. CT game against the Indians.
Beginning June 7, the card sets will be available for purchase at the Texas Rangers Foundation Booth on the lower concourse near section 13 during all home games or the Majestic Grand Slam Gift Shop. The Humane Society of North Texas will also sell the card sets at its adoption centers in Dallas, Fort Worth, Benbrook, and two locations in Keller.
The card sets will also be made available online at TexasRangers.com. The card sets are priced at $15.00 when purchased in person or $18.00 online.
• Infielder Donnie Murphy, on the disabled list with a strained neck, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A Round Rock.
• Catcher Brett Nicholas has been placed on the temporarily inactive list at Round Rock to attend his wife's graduation from law school.
• In addition to the change that gave David Ortiz a single on Friday night off Yu Darvish, Major League Baseball had one other scoring change involving the Rangers. Josh Wilson, who has since been sent to Round Rock, was given a double from a May 4 game in Anaheim that was originally scored an error.
• Robinson Chirinos had a bunt single in Tuesday's game. It's only the second bunt single by a Rangers player this season. The club had 23 in 2013, second most in the American League.
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.