BOSTON -- Michael Kirkman's struggles continued on Tuesday night, when he allowed a run and four hits in 1 1/3 innings against the Red Sox. He has allowed five runs on 11 hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings in his last five outings, and 0-1 with a 6.95 ERA in 24 appearances on the season.
This is not what Kirkman expected after having a great Spring Training.
"Far from it," Kirkman said. "I feel like I'm throwing the ball better than the results show. I feel like if I keep making pitches, eventually things will keep rolling my way. My stuff is there. I've got movement on my fastball and my slider is working well. I just feel anytime I make the smallest mistake, it gets put in play. ... If I stay positive and keep working, when they put me out there, I still feel I can get three outs."
The Rangers are going to give Kirkman every chance, because he is out of options. He also averages 93.3 mph on his fastball, making him the third-hardest thrower on the team behind Tanner Scheppers (95.8) and Derek Holland (93.6). Kirkman's slider is also considered a plus pitch when he keeps it down in the strike zone.
"We're trying to get him a stretch where he's lights out," manager Ron Washington said. "We know it is in there."
Moreland hurts hamstring, heads to Texas for MRI
BOSTON -- The Rangers are sending first baseman Mitch Moreland back to Texas for an MRI exam on his right hamstring muscle. Moreland left the Rangers' game with the Red Sox on Wednesday night in the seventh inning with tightness in the muscle.
Moreland is day to day, and it's not the hamstring that kept him on the disabled list for over a month last year. The Rangers want him to be examined by Dr. Keith Meister.
"It's not like it was [last year]," Moreland said. "But it got a little stiff in an important part of the game. It was a big run and we were trying to be safe with it."
Moreland, with the score 1-1, injured the leg running the bases on a leadoff double into the right-field corner. He immediately came out of the game for pinch-runner Jeff Baker.
"Anytime you get hurt in a game, it doesn't sound good," manager Ron Washington said. "We'll just see how it is tomorrow."
Baker and Lance Berkman could play first base if Moreland is out for only a few days and doesn't need to go on the disabled list. If he does, the Rangers may consider bringing up Mike Olt from Triple-A Round Rock, even though he has been active less than a week after missing a month with blurred vision.
Moreland missed 31 games last season with a strained left hamstring, and was on the DL from June 20-July 29. He entered the night hitting .282 with 12 home runs and 29 RBIs in 57 games.
Business as usual as Cruz, Rangers await word
BOSTON -- Nelson Cruz was in right field for the Rangers on Wednesday night. That will continue to be the plan unless the team is told something different by Major League Baseball regarding an investigation into Biogenesis, a closed-down Miami clinic that allegedly sold illegal substances to a number of Major League players.
Right now the Rangers have heard nothing. They have not had any contact with the Commissioner's Office, and Cruz has not talked to anybody involved in the investigation. A Miami newspaper included Cruz in a January report as being linked to Biogenesis, but nobody in an official capacity has asked to meet with him.
"Not yet," Cruz said. "I expected something before [the World Baseball Classic in March], but nothing happened. I don't know."
There has been speculation and conjecture that players caught dealing illegally with Biogenesis could face as much as 50-game suspensions. The Rangers have made no extraordinary plans as to what might happen if they lost Cruz for an extended period of time. Manager Ron Washington suggested he would likely use both Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin in the outfield and call somebody up from the Minor Leagues as a reserve. But the Rangers are refraining comment on the subject until something official transpires.
"We've been through this already," Washington said.
The Biogenesis investigation appeared stalled until ESPN reported Tuesday that former clinic owner Anthony Bosch has agreed to cooperate with MLB's investigation. He is expected to speak with them in the next week or two, and that will likely determine where the investigation is headed.
"It's something you don't want to be involved with, but it is what it is," Cruz said.
Murphy feels no ill effects from outing on mound
BOSTON -- Outfielder David Murphy said his left arm was fine on Wednesday, one day after throwing 20 pitches in relief for the Rangers during a 17-5 loss to the Red Sox. It was the first time Murphy pitched since high school.
"My arm is good. ... It's pretty normal," Murphy said. "It's a little sore, but it's no different than what I deal with at certain points during the season."
Tuesday marked the sixth time in club history the Rangers have used a position player in a game as a pitcher. Jeff Kunkel did it twice in 1988-89, Jose Canseco pitched an inning in 1993, Scott Sheldon struck out one batter as a pitcher in 2000, and Craig Gentry allowed two runs in one inning on June 4, 2012.
This is the second time that manager Ron Washington has passed over Mitch Moreland. The Rangers first baseman pitched at Mississippi State, and the club once sent him to Instructional League with the idea of turning him to a pitcher. But Washington is concerned Moreland will try to regain former glory and hurt himself by over-throwing on the mound.
Rangers send down Ortiz, keep Wolf in 'pen
BOSTON -- The Rangers optioned pitcher Joseph Ortiz to Triple-A Round Rock before Wednesday's game to make room for Alexi Ogando, who was activated off the disabled list.
Ortiz was 2-0 with an 0.77 ERA in his first seven games, while opponents hit .190 off him. But he was 0-1 with an 8.59 ERA in his last 13 games, and he was clearly starting to press on the mound.
"I think I was more aggressive early in the season," Ortiz said. "But not pitching for so many days, I would wonder if I was pitching well or pitching badly and worry too much. I need to work on my mental side. I'm confident I can work this out and be back soon."
The decision came down between Ortiz and Ross Wolf, the right-hander who was called up on May 22. Both players have options. But Washington said the Rangers wanted to keep Wolf because he gives them a long reliever they haven't had since Derek Lowe was released. Wolf's promotion appeared temporary at the time, but right now he has a spot in the bullpen.
"I've been through it before," Wolf said. "I'm older this time, but I don't dwell on it. I just go out there and throw strikes and hope for the best."
Wolf was originally drafted by the Marlins in 2002, and this is his 12th season in professional baseball. He pitched for the Marlins in 2007 and the Athletics in 2010, and didn't even realize he had an option remaining.
"My agent [Matt Sosnick] called the union, and they said I had one left," Wolf said.
• Geovany Soto played third base for one inning in the ninth inning while Murphy pitched Tuesday night. Soto had never played third base in the Majors, but appeared there three times in the Minors, the last time being 2003 at Class A Daytona. He is the 126th player to play third base and the ninth to play there just for one inning.
• Soto grew up playing third base in Puerto Rico before being moved to catcher. That's the same path that his idol, Ivan Rodriguez, took in Puerto Rico. Rodriguez played third base until he was 15 before switching to catcher. Said Soto, "I think a lot of our infielders in Puerto Rico tend to fill out. But we have good hands. I think that's why you have some notable Puerto Rican catchers get to the big leagues."
• The Indians have announced that Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister and Ubaldo Jimenez will pitch against the Rangers during their three-game series that starts Monday at the Ballpark in Arlington. All three are right-handed.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.