It’s been a difficult season on the mound for Texas Rangers relief pitcher Michael Kirkman. Now, the struggling left-handed pitcher has been placed on the 15-day DL with a recurrence of cutaneous lymphoma, a form of skin cancer, near his right triceps area.
Kirkman was originally diagnosed with and received radiation treatments for the same form of the disease prior to the 2012 season. This time, the cancer was discovered in a routine exam last month, which no doubt has factored into his performance since that time. He will soon begin radiation treatment once again, and as of now, there is no expected date for his return although he is expected to continue to participate in baseball activities.
For the time being, the Rangers have brought up right-handed pitcher Kyle McClellan from the ball club’s Triple-A Round Rock Express to take Kirkman’s spot in the bullpen. McClellan has made eight minor league appearances this season after bouncing back from two surgeries last year. So far, in nine innings this season, McClellan holds a 2.00 ERA.
Kirkman certainly hasn’t had a great season on the field so far this year. His ERA is currently a whopping 8.18, and in his last game the lefty gave up a 3-run, walk-off home run to David Ortiz, blowing a critical series win vs. the Boston Red Sox.
Regardless, Kirkman’s performance on the mound during this early part of the season isn’t at all what’s important right now. First and foremost, he needs to focus on once again battling through this and getting healthy.