5/31/2013 10:22 P.M. ET
Washington says Kirkman 'unlucky' in relief
By T.R. Sullivan and Christian Corona / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said reliever Michael Kirkman is going through a stretch of "bad luck" lately. Kirkman entered Thursday's game against the Diamondbacks in the seventh with a 9-3 lead, but couldn't finish the inning.
Instead, Kirkman gave up two runs on four hits while getting just two outs, and the Rangers had to bring in Neal Cotts to finish the inning.
Kirkman has allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in his last three innings over four appearances entering Friday's series opener against the Royals. He has one strikeout. For the season, Kirkman has a 6.97 ERA and opponents are hitting .337 off him.
"He has been pitching in bad luck," Washington said. "Yesterday, he got two ground balls that could have got him out of the inning, they just weren't hit hard enough. There is nothing wrong with his stuff. I see good stuff, I just see bad luck.
"I see a short breaking ball and life on his fastball. He's making good pitches, they're just finding a way to get a bat on it. It hasn't been because he's not making pitches. When you're struggling, you just get in that mode and you've got to fight through it."
Kirkman is one of four left-handers in the Rangers' eight-man bullpen. The others are Cotts, Joseph Ortiz and Robbie Ross. Cotts and Ross have emerged as the primary late-inning left-handed relievers, with Kirkman and Ortiz being used in middle relief roles.
Rangers won't be swayed by numbers in Draft
ARLINGTON -- As the Rangers prepare for next week's First-Year Player Draft, they look for gems and bargains in the later rounds. The 2010 Draft is a reminder such players are out there. The Rangers took pitcher Justin Grimm in the fifth round and Nick Tepesch in the 14th round.
Both pitchers are now in the Rangers rotation. In both cases, Texas looked beyond the statistical numbers to make the pick.
Tepesch was 6-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 15 games for the University of Missouri as a junior in 2010. In 98 2/3 innings, he allowed 105 hits, walked 27 and struck out 75. But Rangers scouts Mike Grouse and Dustin Smith knew him well and made the recommendation.
"I think there were a few factors that went into [Tepesch going so low], but probably the poor performance his junior year," said Rangers scouting director Kipp Fagg. "He was a Team USA guy going into that year, which I saw him quite a bit there. He was really good, but he didn't have a really good junior year. We took a chance and had a relationship with him. ... We knew the makeup and felt it was a steal where we got him."
Grimm was 3-7 with a 5.49 ERA as a junior at the University of Georgia in 2010. In 77 innings, he allowed 82 hits and 35 walks while striking out 73. But he was still recommended by scout Ryan Coe.
"There were some factors in our mind when we scouted Justin at the University of Georgia that, when he had those bad numbers it was some things he was doing mechanically," Fagg said. "He basically thought the same thing we thought with the mechanics. It was a special arm. It was a great makeup kid. It was a competitive kid. It was an easy choice for me personally. Those numbers are a piece of the puzzle, but they're not all the end all."
Grimm's statistics that season weren't as good as Georgia Tech right-hander Deck McGuire. He was 9-4 with a 2.96 ERA and had 118 strikeouts in 112 innings. The Blue Jays took him with the 11th overall pick of the 2010 Draft. McGuire is currently in his third season at Double-A New Hampshire and is 2-5 with a 5.17 ERA. Grimm is 5-3 with a 3.93 ERA after nine starts for the Rangers.
Ogando feels great after six-inning rehab start
ARLINGTON -- Alexi Ogando gave up two unearned runs in six innings during a rehab start with Double-A Frisco on Friday night and said he's ready to return to the Rangers next week.
Ogando was efficient, throwing 42 of his 60 pitches for strikes while fanning four without issuing a walk. He held Tulsa scoreless through the first five innings before giving up a two-out home run to Kiel Roling in the sixth inning. Both runs were unearned as the previous batter, Delta Cleary Jr., lined a ball in and out of the glove of right fielder Chih-Hsien Chiang.
"That's what I wanted to do, attack the zone. And that's what I did," Ogando said. "I felt great. I probably could have thrown more. I just threw nice and easy. Those were the results I wanted. I didn't have to throw too hard."
Ogando, who topped out at 95 mph, worked around leadoff doubles in the first and third inning, along with a leadoff single in the fifth. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis May 16. In nine starts this season, Ogando has gone 4-2 with a 3.08 ERA.
• Matt Harrison, still recovering from two back surgeries, has ramped up his exercise program, but has not yet been cleared to begin throwing. He is hoping that will happen after being examined by Dr. Drew Dosset on June 10. Harrison is still shooting for an August return.
• Pitcher Roman Mendez has developed another stress fracture in his right elbow and will require surgery. He is expected to miss the rest of the season. Mendez is the Rangers' No. 13 prospect, as ranked by MLB.com. Mendez, who was one of three players acquired from the Red Sox for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2010, was 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in 16 games for Double-A Frisco.
• C.J. Edwards, who is ranked as the No. 17 prospect, has been placed on the disabled list at Class A Hickory. The Rangers want to give him a break, limit his innings and have him available for a full season. He is 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 starts at Frisco with 66 strikeouts in 56 innings.
• Washington on George Brett taking over as Royals hitting coach: "If he has patience and if he doesn't look at all of them like they're George Brett, he will do well, because nobody knows more about hitting than George Brett. He can sit in the dugout and tell you more about the pitcher than anybody. Maybe, he can open up those minds that are locked down because he knows hitting. There will be some ears open, I know that. I don't know what the issues were before, but George Brett has their respect, totally."
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 a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.