It went undisclosed throughout the spring and the first month and a half of the season, but the Rangers revealed Monday that left-hander Michael Kirkman was disagnosed with skin cancer back in January.
According to the release, which certainly must have come with Kirkman’s permission, the 25-year-0ld is currently undergoing regular treatment in Round Rock and is being continually monitored by his doctors in both Florida and Texas. The prognosis is for a full recovery.
Kirkman has been pitching despite the cancer, going 2-1 with a 6.68 ERA in six starts and five relief appearances for Triple-A Round Rock. He served stints in the majors with Texas in 2010 and ’11, going 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA in 29 relief appearances. Kirkman has the stuff to start in the majors if he can get better about pounding the strike zone. The Rangers will probably give him another look as a reliever later this year.
The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.
Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:
Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.