ROUND ROCK -- Michael Kirkman says his family took his cancer diagnosis harder than he did."I'm kind of a mellow person," Kirkman said. "I try not to take things too hard. But they definitely took it harder than I did." The Rangers announced that Kirkman, a pitcher with Triple-A Round Rock, had been diagnosed with a form of skin cancer May 21. It was not considered life-threatening, but very treatable, and would not even interfere with his baseball activities. Kirkman will receive his third treatment Monday, and hopes two more treatments after that will be all he needs. "The treatments have gone great. We're seeing results already," Kirkman said. "I feel a little more exhausted throughout the week, but that's the worst of it. I try not to let anything get me down or take me out of my game or take away from quality of life or anything like that. I try not to have any excuses." After going 0-1 with a 11.45 ERA in seven April appearances, Kirkman went 4-0 with a 3.48 ERA in six May starts. He allowed two runs on five hits in five innings of relief of Roy Oswalt in Saturday night's 3-2 win over Albuquerque, picking up his fifth win of the year. "I'm trying to get on a little roll here," Kirkman said. "I'm getting into a rhythm. If I get into something tonight, with a leadoff walk and a wild pitch, I was able to work through that. I was kind of erratic, but I was able to get myself through it and get out of it. Kirkman began the season in Round Rock's bullpen before moving to the rotation in April. But since being diagnosed with cancer, while understanding that it's not a life-threatening condition, Kirkman says it's helped him put things in perspective. "There's more important things than baseball," Kirkman said. "There's life."
'Reality check' is theme of Rangers' meeting
ANAHEIM -- Late in the Rangers' 3-2 loss to the Angels on Saturday, a female fan sitting in the stands handed manager Ron Washington a hand-written letter. Washington put it in his pocket and didn't read it until well after his postgame team meeting."What she wrote in her letter was the same things I had just said," Washington said before Sunday's game with the Angels. Washington doesn't call many postgame meetings. But Washington said he was going to hold one after Saturday's game even if the Rangers had rallied to beat the Angels. "The things we're doing, that's not us," Washington said. "We're better than that. We've got to get back to where we were at. If we make the plays we're supposed to make, I'll take our chances." Washington said the purpose of his meeting was to bring his players "back to reality." Infielders Ian Kinsler and Michael Young also spoke, as did first-base coach Gary Pettis. "I'm not one to throw stuff," Washington said. "I don't rant and rave and turn things over. I played the game, I understand what those guys are feeling. I never wanted anybody to turn anything over on me. The whole point is a reality check. Things happen, so you've got to take care of them and fix them. I just had to step in and make sure we do that. "Will you see results? I hope you do. You can't turn this game on or off. But the message has been sent. It could happen today or tomorrow. In my position, all I can do is send the message." The Rangers entered Sunday's game on a four-game losing streak, including two to the second-place Angels. "We're still 3 1/2 games up," Washington said. "They're chasing us, we're not chasing them. We've got to get back to playing our baseball and everything will be fine. We played tight; that's something we haven't done. "Texas Rangers baseball is pitching, catching the ball, running the bases and executing. That's who we are and that's what we haven't been doing. We'll be better. They have pride and they can play. It's a matter of getting back to it."
Borbon, Martin nearing return to Round Rock
ROUND ROCK -- Triple-A Round Rock outfielders Julio Borbon and Leonys Martin, both on the disabled list, could be back in the lineup sometime next week.Borbon, who injured his groin trying to beat out a ground ball in last Sunday's 19-3 win over Nashville, says that he's at about 70-75 percent. He will be available to come off the DL on Tuesday, when the Express finish a four-game series against Albuquerque. "I should be pretty close," Borbon said of returning for the finale against the Isotopes. "A day or two more, and I should be ready to go." Borbon was placed on the DL twice last year, once in May after straining his left hamstring and again in July after suffering a season-ending injury to his left ankle. "This happened to me twice last year," Borbon said. "I can't control any of that. It's out of my reach. I'm just going to try to get back as soon as I can. I'm not concerned about anything else." Borbon was riding a 15-game hitting streak before his groin injury, hitting .446 during that stretch, and .304 with five home runs, 24 RBIs and 10 stolen bases for the season. He batted .270 in 32 games with the Rangers last season. "I'm confident now and happy with the progress," Borbon said. "I'm just concerned about getting back to being comfortable and doing the things that I could do before the groin [injury]. You just have to give it a couple more days and let it build up as the body allows it to." Martin, a .347 hitter this year for Round Rock, has spent the past month on the disabled list after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. He suffered the injury sliding into first base on a bunt single during a 6-3 win over New Orleans on May 1. Martin was expected to be out for 6-8 weeks following the surgery. He has been hitting in the batting cages and running the bases. It's been nearly five weeks since Martin had surgery.
The Rangers made some dubious history on Saturday. It was the first time they had the combination of at least three errors, three grounding into double plays, 10 runners left on base and going hitless in at least eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Lost in Saturday's defeat was the tremendous catch center fielder Craig Gentry made to take a home run away from Erick Aybar in the third inning. Said Gentry, "With the sky the way it was, I lost it for a second. It kept carrying, but I knew I had a good jump on it. Luckily I was there in time and timed it."
Josh Hamilton was named the American League Player of the Month for May, one day after striking out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning on Saturday night. Said manager Ron Washington, "I would have liked for him to be the Player of the Game last night. He had a tremendous May. I'd like for him to have the same month in June, starting with June 2."
Triple-A Round Rock third baseman Tommy Mendonca has been placed on the disabled list with a head contusion.
Roy Oswalt, who pitched two scoreless innings on Saturday for Triple-A Round Rock, is scheduled to pitch next Thursday at Omaha. It will be his second start since signing with the Rangers, and he is scheduled to throw approximately 50 pitches.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.