Kirkman impresses in first spring action

Kirkman impresses in first spring action

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Michael Kirkman, trying to win a job in the Rangers' bullpen, had an impressive two innings in a 4-2 loss to the Royals on Saturday at Surprise Stadium, retiring six of seven hitters, including three on strikeouts. If he can win a roster spot, it would make it easier for Texas to move Robbie Ross into the rotation.

"You always want to come out throwing strikes and getting quick outs," Kirkman said. "It was extremely constructive. I still have stuff to work on to get consistent, but it's something to build off. I'm excited about it."

Brandon Wood, a non-roster infielder, connected off Rangers right-hander Jake Brigham in the ninth inning to give Kansas City the win. Salvador Perez drew a one-out walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Anthony Seratelli. Wood drove a 2-2 pitch into the left-field bullpen.

Rangers right-hander Randy Wells, a candidate for the No. 5 rotation spot, gave up three hits and one run in his two innings. Mike Moustakas led off the Royals' second inning with a single, took third on David Lough's single and scored as George Kottaras rapped into a double play.

Guillermo Moscoso, the Royals' starter, pitched two scoreless innings, but Francisley Bueno yielded two runs in the third. Aaron Cunningham's leadoff single preceded Ian Kinsler's RBI double. Kinsler moved around on two groundouts, crossing the plate on David Murphy's roller to first.

The Royals pulled even, 2-2, against Evan Meek in the fifth. Kottaras led off with a single, stole second and took third on catcher Jose Felix's throwing error. Kottaras scored as third baseman Mike Olt booted Jarrod Dyson's grounder.

Royals left-hander Donnie Joseph, obtained last year in the deal that sent reliever Jonathan Broxton to the Reds, struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh inning. Veteran Dan Wheeler, a non-roster right-hander, also pitched a perfect inning with one strikeout.

Up next for Rangers: Matt Harrison makes his first start of the Cactus League when he pitches against the Royals at 2:05 p.m. CT on Sunday in Surprise. Right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom, one of two pitchers acquired from the Phillies for Michael Young, will also take the mound, along with two veteran left-handed relief candidates in Neal Cotts and Nate Robertson.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.