Rangers announce reliever Michael Kirkman has skin cancer

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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.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.