Rangers put Ogando on DL again; Kirkman on DL after cancer recurrence

Posted Sunday, Jun. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Two more pitchers landed on the Texas Rangers’ disabled list Sunday.

Starter Alexi Ogando is back on the DL, this time with right shoulder inflammation, and Michael Kirkman had a recurrence of skin cancer that was originally diagnosed in January 2012.

The Rangers recalled Josh Lindblom, who will start Monday in Ogando’s spot, and also purchased the contract of right-hander Kyle McClellan to reinforce a taxed bullpen after Saturday’s 18-inning game.

Ogando played catch early Sunday and said his arm felt better, but the Rangers weren’t going to risk it. He already had a three-week stint on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis last month.

Ogando returned from that injury Wednesday, and allowed one run on three hits over 5 2/3 innings at Boston. But he felt discomfort throwing his bullpen session Friday.

“We’re hopeful that this is not going to be a long stint on the disabled list,” assistant general manager Thad Levine said.

The question now becomes for what role Ogando is best suited. He made the All-Star team as a starter in 2011, went back to a relief role last season and returned to the rotation this year.

That has been an ongoing internal debate within the Rangers’ front office, Levine said, and “it will continue to rage on.”

“Alexi is a championship pitcher and we need to put him in the best position for him to stay healthy,” Levine said. “We’ll evaluate it from every angle. Right now, we view him as one of the five starting pitchers.”

Kirkman, meanwhile, is trying to take the scary news of his cancer recurrence, which was found in May, the best way possible. The official diagnosis was a recurrence of cutaneous lymphoma, and Kirkman said it is “about two millimeters” from the original area in his right triceps.

Kirkman, 26, received intravenous medication and went through radiation sessions last year, and is scheduled for similar treatment. He will still be able to do baseball workouts, although there is no timetable on his return.

“I probably see it as less of a thing as it is. Other people see it as more than what it is,” Kirkman said. “It’s just one of those things. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise. I can take a step back, take a mental break and work some bugs out. Hopefully I’ll be ready to go in a couple of weeks.”

Kirkman has struggled this season with an 8.18 ERA over 25 appearances, and Levine said getting the cancer into remission is the priority that could ultimately help him on the field.

“This had to be weighing on his mind since it was discovered in May,” Levine said.

McClellan takes Kirkman’s spot in the bullpen, and brings another veteran presence. He filled multiple roles the past five years with the St. Louis Cardinals, and is ready to provide the same versatility with the Rangers.

McClellan signed with the Rangers in the off-season and went into spring training as a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation or as a reliever. But he suffered a couple of setbacks while recovering from shoulder surgery, and wasn’t game-ready until May.

McClellan had eight appearances in the minor leagues with a 2.00 ERA before being promoted.

“It’s a sigh of relief to be back,” said McClellan, who got the final out of the seventh inning Sunday. “It’s definitely been lengthy, a lot longer than I would’ve hoped, but it all happens for a reason. And I’m back to where I was, which is the important thing.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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