Michael Kirkman and Engel Beltre are in similar situations with no minor-league options left. That means they have to make the Opening Day roster or clear waivers before being sent back to the minor leagues.
And Kirkman and Beltre didn’t do much to help their causes Monday afternoon.
Kirkman had been scheduled to pitch three or four innings, but lasted only one. He walked three of the first four batters he faced and then gave up a grand slam to Mark Reynolds.
Kirkman issued another walk before inducing a pair of grounders to get out of the inning. Afterwards, Kirkman said he didn’t have command of his two-seam fastball and knows this isn’t the time to have that kind of outing.
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“No, it’s not,” Kirkman said.
As for what it might mean for his future, Kirkman said: “I can’t control anything. If they ask me to go back out there again, I’ll be out there again. I’ll work my tail off to make it work. Hopefully I get another shot.”
Beltre had his own troubles. He reached on an infield single in the second inning, but was thrown out as he stalled between second and third on a single by Leonys Martin. Beltre then lost a routine fly ball in the sun.
Manager Ron Washington was more disappointed in the base-running mistake by Beltre than the lost fly ball.
“Once he decides not to go to third base, he shouldn’t have tried,” Washington said.
For both players, though, no final decisions have been made yet. However, Washington said, the team is going to take the 25 best players regardless of their contract status.