SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Michael Kirkman holds a special distinction in the Rangers clubhouse. With Ian Kinsler gone, Kirkman has been with the Rangers organization longer than any other player and is the only one acquired before Jon Daniels became general manager.
Kirkman was taken in fifth round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of Lake City Columbia (Fla.) High and signed with the Rangers on June 9 of that year.
"It's pretty odd, I guess, when you think about it," Kirkman said.
Now his tenure is in question because he enters camp out of options. He either has to make the team or be put through outright waivers to be sent to the Minors. Kirkman made the team out of Spring Training last year but was 0-2 with an 8.18 ERA in 25 games. He did not pitch in the Majors after June 6 after another recurrence of skin cancer.
"Who knows what will happen this Spring Training?" Kirkman said. "It matters but some things I can't control. I'm prepared for the season and Spring Training more so than I ever have been. I would love to stay with the Rangers. I know and love the coaching staff and the players. I just need to pitch well and have a spring like I had last year and carry it through the season."
Kirkman has missed time the past two seasons because of skin cancer but is hoping that issue is finally behind him.