8/26/2013 10:00 P.M. ET
Upon return, Kirkman could start or relieve
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Michael Kirkman, who has been on the disabled list since June 7 while recovering from skin cancer, has made himself an option for the Rangers' rotation going into September.
Kirkman pitched six innings for Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts. He threw 83 pitches and now has a 1.64 ERA in his last two starts for the Express.
"Michael had his slider working," Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's stretched out now and a consideration for whatever we need."
Kirkman has never started at the big league level, but he was a starter for most of his time in the Minor Leagues. He could make one more start for Round Rock later this week or he could be activated Sunday when the rosters expand to up to 40 players. If he doesn't join the Rangers' rotation, he will most likely work out of the bullpen in September.
The Rangers are using left-hander Travis Blackley as their fifth starter with Alexi Ogando and Nick Tepesch on the disabled list. Tepesch, who has been out since July 7 with elbow inflammation, is scheduled to throw 45 pitches on a rehab start Tuesday for Double-A Frisco against Corpus Christi.
Ogando, who has been sidelined with inflammation around a nerve in his right shoulder, has not yet resumed throwing off a mound. He has been throwing long toss and said he still feels the shoulder when he tries to throw hard.
Martin remains out of lineup with right ankle sprain
SEATTLE -- Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin was out of the lineup Monday for the second straight day while dealing with a sprained right ankle. He is available as a pinch-runner or pinch-hitter and the Rangers are hopeful he'll return to the lineup Tuesday.
Martin, who injured the ankle in an outfield collision with David Murphy on Saturday in Chicago, tested the ankle before Monday's game. Running is not a problem as much as hitting because the ankle is on his front foot and twists hard during his swing. That's when Martin feels it the most.
"The running is much better, but they want me to be 100 percent," Martin said.
With Martin out, Craig Gentry started in center field for the second straight game. Gentry missed a fly ball in Sunday's 5-2 loss to the White Sox, snapping a streak of 196 games without an error. That was the longest streak in club history regardless of position. Tom Grieve had a 182-game errorless streak as an outfielder from April 25, 1972 to June 24, 1975. Gentry's last error came Sept. 25, 2011.
"I wasn't aware of the streak," Gentry said. "I had no idea."
The longest current streak among Major League outfielders is held by the Yankees' Curtis Granderson, who has not made an error in 211 straight games. Gentry's was the fourth-longest before it came to an end.
Feliz likely to join bullpen this weekend
SEATTLE -- Neftali Feliz looks like he'll be ready to return to the Major Leagues Sunday when the rosters are expanded for September. Feliz had another strong outing for Triple-A Round Rock this past Sunday, throwing two scoreless innings.
Feliz, who underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery Aug. 1, 2012 and has not pitched for the Rangers this season, has made five appearances for Round Rock and not allowed a run. In 5 2/3 innings, he has allowed two hits and two walks while striking out five. Sunday marked the first time he has thrown two innings in a game. His velocity peaked at 93 mph.
"Feliz is continuing to improve," Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. "He got through two innings without issue. Report is that he pounded the zone with his fastball and had a very good changeup. The velocity is ticking up, though we may not fully see it right away."
Feliz is scheduled to pitch again Wednesday. He has time for two or three more outings before the rosters expand Sunday. Round Rock's season ends Monday and the Express are not going to make the playoffs. Feliz, who was the Rangers' closer in 2010-11 before moving into the rotation, will likely be used in a limited setup role behind Tanner Scheppers, Joakim Soria and Jason Frasor.
"We'll make sure we use him in less stressful situations," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We'll start him out in situations where it doesn't matter how he does. We won't throw him to the wolves."
Berkman to lead September reinforcements
SEATTLE -- The Rangers are in the process of finalizing who they will call up in September when the rosters expand to as many as 40 players. Lance Berkman is still on track to be activated Sunday.
"I'm ready right now," said Berkman, who has been sidelined since July 7 with inflammation in his left hip and a chronic sore right knee.
The main candidates to be called up from Triple-A Round Rock are left-handed reliever Joseph Ortiz, right-handers Wilmer Font and Cory Burns, catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielders Engel Beltre and Joey Butler.
Round Rock's season comes to an end Monday, so not everybody will be called up Sunday.
• Shortstop Elvis Andrus turned 25 Monday.
• Jeff Baker, who started in left field Monday, went into the game with 11 home runs in 121 at-bats. His ratio of one home run every 11 at-bats ranked second-best in the Major Leagues among players with at least 100 at-bats. Chris Davis of the Orioles went into Monday with a home run every 10.1 at-bats.
• Class A Myrtle Beach pitcher Alec Asher threw five more scoreless innings Monday against Winston-Salem in the Carolina League. He has a 25-inning scoreless streak. Asher struck out eight and leads the Carolina League with 139 strikeouts in 133 innings. The Rangers took him in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Polk County (Fla.) College.
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.