Fujikawa activated, makes Rangers debut

On DL since end of camp, righty tosses perfect 8th inning; Patton optioned to Triple-A

Fujikawa activated, makes Rangers debut

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers on Thursday activated pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa off the disabled list and optioned pitcher Spencer Patton to Triple-A Round Rock.

Fujikawa then immediately made his Rangers debut in a 6-3 loss to the Royals on Thursday afternoon, setting down the side in order in the eighth inning.

"I'm just going to go out there and give it all every day, every inning," Fujikawa said. "I didn't really feel at my best, but I'm going to give it my best."

Fujikawa was the 21st pitcher used by the Rangers this season.

"He controlled the fastball down," manager Jeff Banister said. "He threw the fastball up for effect. His split-finger was in play."

Fujikawa has been on the DL since the end of Spring Training because of tightness in his right groin muscle. He had a 3.86 ERA in 10 relief outings with Round Rock on medical rehabilitation assignment -- holding opponents to a .194 batting average, although allowing nine walks in 9 1/3 innings. His last outing was on Monday at Nashville, in which he pitched a scoreless inning with one hit and a strikeout.

Fujikawa signs with Rangers

The Rangers signed Fujikawa in the offseason with the idea of making him one of their late-inning setup relievers. Fujikawa had spent the previous two seasons in the Cubs' organization after signing with them as a free agent on Dec. 7, 2012.

He made 12 appearances for the Cubs in 2013 before coming down with elbow problems that eventually resulted in Tommy John surgery on June 11 that year. He returned to the big leagues on Aug. 6, 2014, and pitched in 15 games for the Cubs. Overall he has a 4.85 ERA in 28 appearances in the big leagues.

Fujikawa, 34, pitched 12 seasons for Hashin in the Japanese Professional League, where he was one of the premier closers. In 562 career appearances, he had a 1.77 ERA, 219 saves and a .175 opponents batting average. He also averaged 11.88 strikeouts per nine innings.

Patton was recalled from Triple-A on May 4 and pitched in two games for the Rangers. He allowed three runs and two hits, both of them homers, while striking out four over three innings.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.