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Kirkman Falling Out of Rotation Race

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Relief pitcher Michael Kirkman #44 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011.

    With the Rangers' starting rotation set to be finalized some time next week, Michael Kirkman was hoping to make a late push for one of, perceivably, two open rotation spots behind C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and a struggling, yet experienced Tommy Hunter.

    In Thursday's rout by the Padres, that didn't work out so well for Kirkman, as he pitched just 2 1/3 innings and gave up nine runs, although five were unearned.

    Heading into Thursday, Kirkman had had a strong spring, but that was all derailed in Thursday's start. And though it was just one poor start, the rest of the competition has had nothing like that save Derek Holland's last start where he struggled but wasn't beaten into the ground like Kirkman was.

    Kirkman does have a role on this Rangers team, and he has a role on the big league team right when spring training breaks, but it will most likely be in middle of the bullpen for now.

    Another pitcher who's struggled this spring is Mark Lowe, who has been tabbed as a potential in-house replacement for Neftali Feliz as the team's closer if Feliz ends up moving to the rotation.

    So far this spring, Lowe has an ERA that's hovering over 10.00. That's not going to cut it.