Among the roster moves made by the Texas Rangers on Monday, Joe Beimel and Michael Stetter were released, cutting the field of candidates for the remaining lefty spot in the Rangers bullpen down to three (officially), but probably really two--and of this two-man field, it seems that there is a clear favorite.
Neal Cotts, Michael Kirkman (pictured) and Robbie Ross are the lefties left, but it seems that Kirkman or Ross will get the job--and based on experience the edge goes to Kirkman. But based on their showings this spring, Ross is the clear leader, which is why we think he’s the favorite for the role coming out of camp.
Ron Washington mentioned recently that Kirkman had been hot or cold this spring. He gave up four runs over two innings in Sunday’s game against Los Angeles, a performance that Wash chalked up to the veteran leaving the ball up.
"On and off," he said, per the Rangers’ official website. "He has some good days and has not-so-good days. I guess you could say he's a little inconsistent."
Meanwhile, Ross has yet to allow a run in six appearances in Cactus League games this spring--though this number is a bit skewed, as he gave up four over 2 1/3 IP against Milwaukee in a game that was rained out. But this was the exception to an otherwise outstanding spring for the 22-year-old--he went two scoreless innings against the Angels Sunday--and the Rangers have taken notice.
"He has been very impressive," Washington said. "If you were going to have a frame for pitching, it would be work fast, throw strikes and get outs. That's what he does."