Results tagged ‘ Michael Kirkman ’

Potential Relief Pitchers

A consistent bullpen is a luxury in the game of baseball and the Express are looking for just that in 2015.  Below are the possible relief pitchers that could be trotting from the bullpen to the mound at Dell Diamond this summer.  A mix of fresh faces and veteran grinders has the makings of an eclectic group of relief pitchers.

ANTHONY BASS – RHP – 2014 Statistics:
HOU: W-L:  1-1,  ERA: 6.33, IP: 27, H: 32, R: 20, ER: 19, HR: 6, BB: 7, SO: 7
OKC: W-L: 0-2, ERA:  3.31, IP: 16.1, H: 15, R: 9, ER:6, HR: 3, BB: 6, SO: 14
QC: W-L: 0-0, ERA: 0, IP: 4, H: 2, R: 2, ER: 0, HR: 0, BB: 0, SO:

Bass brings a Major League level arsenal with him into the 2015 season.  Stops with the San Diego Padres from 2011-2013 and the Houston Astros in 2014 have given Bass the professionalism needed to make an impact anywhere he goes.  Bass finished 2014 with the Oklahoma City Dodgers primarily coming out of the bullpen.  Bass will be attending Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
Anthony Bass 2

JUAN CARLOS OVIEDO – RHP – 2014 Statistics:
TB: W-L: 3-3, ERA: 3.69, IP: 31.2, H: 27, R: 14, ER: 13, HR: 3, BB: 16, SO: 26
DUR: W-L: 0-0, ERA: 3.86, IP: 7, H: 5, R: 3, ER: 3, HR: 1, BB: 1, SO: 10

Oviedo started 2014 with the Durham Bulls before getting the tap from the Tampa Bay Rays.  While in Durham, Oviedo pitched strong middle relief in seven total innings with the Bulls only giving up five hits and three runs.  Oviedo notched his first win of 2014 with Tampa Bay on May 23 with a 1-0 victory against Boston.  Oviedo looks to impress at Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
Juan Carlos Oviedo Action Shot

ROSS WOLF – RHP – 2014 Statistics:
SK: W-L: 2-2, ERA: 4.85, SV: 4, IP: 85.1, H: 88, R: 48, ER: 46, HR: 10, BB: 27, SO:41
Wolf spent the 2014 season with the SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization after installments with Frisco and Round Rock in 2012 and 2013.  The Illinois native was originally used as a starting pitcher with the Express, but was called from the bullpen during his time with the Rangers.  Like Bass, Wolf has the experience and professionalism to work his way into a productive role.  Wolf plans to bounce back with a strong showing at Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
Ross Wolf

KEONE KELA – RHP – 2014 Statistics:
FRI: W-L: 2-1, ERA: 1.86, SV: 5, IP: 38.2, H: 22, R: 14,  ER: 8, HR: 1,  BB: 27, SO: 55
MYR: W-L: 0-1,  ERA: 2.61, SV: 5, IP: 10.1, H: 9, R: 3, ER: 3, HR:  0, BB: 4, SO:
Kela proved to be a strong bullpen asset for Frisco in 2014 coming in as a closing pitcher with occasional set up roles.  From June 12-July 12, Kela went seven consecutive appearances for the RoughRiders without giving up a hit.  Kela recorded back-to-back saves for Frisco on August 1 and 2, both times pitching an inning of work.  Kela will be continuing his progression as a Non-Roster Invitee at Rangers Spring Training.
Keone Kela Action Shot   

MICHAEL KIRKMAN – LHP – 2014 Statistics:
TEX: W-L: 0-1, ERA: 1.59, IP: 5.2, H: 5, R: 1, ER: 1, HR: 0, BB: 1, SO: 3
RR: W-L: 5-5, ERA: 4.47, IP: 54.1, H: 50, R: 34, ER: 27, HR: 6, BB: 29, SO: 62
The only lefty on this list, Kirkman has been a staple of the Rangers system since 2005.  The veteran spent 2014 in Round Rock until August before getting the call from the Rangers in September.  After a slow start with the Express, Kirkman went six straight appearances without giving up a run.  As a Ranger, Kirkman appeared in 12 games and was used primarily as a set up man.  Kirkman will  look to make an impact at Rangers Spring Training as a Non-Roster Invitee.
Michael Kirkman Action Shot

Due Up:
Our next post will look at the potential catchers that could be wearing an Express jersey in 2015.  Make sure to follow the Express on Facebook and Twitter!

Photo Credit:
Jesse Johnson – USA Today Sports
Marco LaNave  – Quad City Bandits
Patrick Semansky-  AP
Frisco RoughRiders
Jake Roth –  US Presswire

Express with Rangers

The Texas Rangers announced their active roster for tonight’s American League Wild Card Game Friday morning. The 25-man crew features six former Express members, including five that played for the Express this season. Another nine rehabbed with Round Rock at some point over the past two seasons – four this season.

Here is a look at the 15 players who have donned an Express uniform over the past two seasons (* – rehab):

*Adrian Beltre (2011)
*Nelson Cruz (2011)
*Scott Feldman (2011)
Craig Gentry (2011)
*Josh Hamilton (2011)
*Derek Holland (2012)
Michael Kirkman (2011, 2012)
Leonys Martin (2011, 2012)
Luis Martinez (2012)
*Mitch Moreland (2012)
*Mike Napoli (2011)
*Alexi Ogando (2012)
Roy Oswalt (2012)
Yoshinori Tateyama (2011, 2012)
*Koji Uehara (2012)


News and Notes (Sept. 7)

Several 2012 Round Rock Express members still are in action this season. The current Texas Rangers roster features eight 2012 Express members:  pitchers Michael Kirkman, Roy Oswalt, Martin Perez, Tanner Scheppers and Yoshinori Tateyama, catcher Luis Martinez, infielder Brandon Snyder and outfielder Leonys Martin. Additionally, the Rangers roster includes outfielder Craig Gentry, who was an Express member last season. Other current Rangers who rehabbed with the Express this season are pitchers Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara and infielder Mitch Moreland.

Meanwhile, Double-A Frisco is alive and well in the Texas League playoffs (more on that below). Former Express members Val Majewski, Tommy Mendonca, Guilder Rodriguez and Justin Grimm have seen action through the RoughRiders’ first two games of the playoff games. Right-hander Neil Ramirez also is on Frisco’s active roster.


Rangers Double-A affiliate Frisco is one win away from reaching the Texas League Championship Series. The RoughRiders lead their division series against Houston Astros affiliate Corpus Christi 2-0, winning both home games in dramatic fashion.

Wednesday, the RoughRiders got a one-out RBI double from Chris McGuiness that scored Leury Garcia with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as Frisco edged Corpus Christi 6-5. The RoughRiders got hits from all nine starters, including former Express members Tommy Mendonca (1-for-4, run), Val Majewski (2-for-3, RBI, run, walk) and Guilder Rodriguez (1-for-3, RBI, walk). One of Majewski’s hits was a second-inning leadoff homer that tied the game 2-2. The RoughRiders plated three runs in the third to take a 5-2 lead before the Hooks posted solo spots in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to tie the game.

Frisco got another walk-off win Thursday night as Garcia blasted a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 victory. Rodriguez walked to open the ninth and moved to second on an Engel Beltre sacrifice bunt. Rodriguez then was caught trying to steal third with Garcia at the plate. Garcia, however, had the last laugh as he deposited a Ryan Rodebaugh 2-1 offering over the fence down the right-field line. Mendonca (1-for-2) and Rodriguez (0-for-2) both walked twice; Majewski scored the game-tying run as a pinch-runner in a two-run eighth. Justin Grimm worked two scoreless innings in relief for the RoughRiders, scattering a pair of hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Corpus Christi designated hitter Drew Locke, who played for the Express in 2010, was 0-for-4.

The best-of-five series now shifts to Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field. Game three features former University of Missouri right-hander Nick Tepesch on the mound for the RoughRiders against Hooks right-hander Ross Seaton. Tepesch was 6-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 14 starts and two relief outings for Frisco during the regular season. He began the 2012 season with Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach, where he was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 12 starts. Seaton was 8-8 with a 4.07 ERA in 25 starts for the Hooks during the regular season.

Frisco has not announced starters for the final two games of the series should they be necessary. However, projections have Neil Ramirez going in game four and right-hander Cody Buckel in the series finale. Ramirez began the season with the Express and struggled through 15 starts (6-8, 7.66 ERA) after a promising Round Rock showing in 2011. He was reassigned to Frisco in late June and went 2-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 12 starts and one relief appearance with the RoughRiders. Like Tepesch, Buckel started the season with Myrtle Beach; he was dominant with the Pelicans, going 5-3 with a 1.31 ERA and 91 strikeouts over 75.2 innings in 13 starts. Buckel was promoted to Frisco in mid-June and was 5-5 with a 3.78 ERA and 68 strikeouts over 69.0 innings in 10 starts and three relief outings with the RoughRiders.


Pitchers Mark Hamburger and John Gaub, both of whom were Express members in 2012, completed their seasons with other Triple-A squads.

Hamburger, who was Round Rock’s pitcher of the year in 2011, was acquired by the San Diego Padres upon his mid-June release from the Rangers. However, he was not with the Padres long, going 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in one start and four relief outings with Triple-A Tucson. Hamburger was released in mid-July and nabbed by the Houston Astros, who assigned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City. There, Hamburger was 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA in 17 relief appearances. His lone victory was Aug. 19 at Round Rock when he worked one and one-thirds scoreless innings with one strikeout and one walk in the RedHawks’ 5-2 win.

If you blinked in late May and early June, you likely missed Gaub’s stint with the Express. The veteran lefty started the season with Triple-A Durham (Tampa Bay Rays) of the International League and was released May 20. The Rangers signed him three days later and assigned him to Round Rock, where did not record a decision or allow a run in five relief outings – the first four of which were on the road. Gaub threw 12 pitches in an Express uniform at The Dell Diamond, those coming in one perfect inning June 5 against Albuquerque. He was released shortly thereafter and acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals, who assigned him to Triple-A Memphis. Gaub spent the remainder of the season with the Redbirds, going 0-3 with one save and a 6.68 ERA in 33 relief appearances. He pitched in three games against the Express, including a scoreless inning July 13 at The Dell Diamond.


Several other former Express members currently are in the majors with organizations other than Texas. Here is a look at a couple; we’ll check in with others throughout the remainder of the season.

Luis Cruz (Express 2011) began the season with Triple-A Albuquerque (Los Angeles Dodgers) and hit .381 with eight homers, 46 RBI, 31 doubles and three triples in 74 games with the Isotopes. He was promoted to the Dodgers in early July and did not look back. His call-up was due to an injury to starting shortstop Gordon Dee. Cruz moved to third shortly after the Dodgers’ trade for Hanley Ramirez, who returned to shortstop after playing third with the Miami Marlins. (Remember all the ballyhoo surrounding his move to third when the Marlins acquired Jose Reyes in the off-season?) Cruz is hitting .306 with four homers, 30 RBI and 15 doubles in 54 games with the Dodgers. After leading Dodgers regulars with a .333 average in August, Cruz is off to an 8-for-20 start in five games this month (he had four hits Monday against San Diego). In fact, his August average tied for the National League’s seventh-best mark that month. Cruz has done most of his damage in key situations, hitting .352 with runners in scoring position.

Cody Ransom (Express 2006-2007) made it to the majors for the sixth consecutive season and the second straight with Arizona. This is his 10th big-league season with five organizations (Giants, Astros, Yankees, Phillies, Diamondbacks). Ransom started the 2012 campaign with the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate Reno Aces, hitting .294 with two homers and nine RBI in 10 games before joining the Diamondbacks, for whom he played 17 games (.269, four homers, 12 RBI). He was claimed on waivers by Milwaukee in mid-May but struggled with the Brew Crew (.196, six homers, 26 RBI in 64 games). Arizona reclaimed Ransom off waivers last weekend, and he was 1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored in his first game back Monday night.

A look back at the Express in June

LHP Martin Perez

By Will Weinstock

In Part II of an Express Tracks series chronicling the highlights of each month of the Round Rock Express 2012 season. This article covers the highlights of June. The Express finished the month with a record of 13-15 (38-48 overall) and are now 11.5 games back in the Southern Division. 

Player of the Month: LHP Martin Perez

Highlights of June:

  • OF Joey Butler was selected as a PCL All-Star in Buffalo on July 11.
  • On June 30 the Texas Rangers won 7-2 against the Oakland A’s and all three pitchers used were in Round Rock at one point this season. LHP Martin Perez got the win in his first major league start with a line of 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, & 103 Pitches. Yoshinori Tateyama and Michael Kirkman came in to throw the final 3.2 innings of hitless ball to end the game.
  • Former Express RHP Jordan Lyles went 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 29.0 innings.
  • RHP Roy Oswalt made three starts with the Express in preparation for pitching in the majors. The first start was in front of a near capacity crowd of 11,532 fans and was his first time pitching in an Express jersey since his stint with the team in 2000.

Quote of the Month: “A lot of the people that were here when they first opened the stadium are still here today,” Oswalt said. “And getting to see the old faces and the people I still kind of remember the first time was nice.”

Impact Position Player: 1B Mike Bianucci (.277, 4 HR, 12 RBI)

Bianucci continues to mash the ball everywhere the Express play this season. But what has stood out most in the 26-year-old has been his defense. Originally drafted out of Auburn University as a third basemen, he has been moved all over the field in search of a position. At the lower levels Bianucci was playing mostly left and right field, but they were not a natural fit. In Round Rock the Virginia native has settled in nicely at first base. Before the year he had never played the position and was even listed as a designated hitter in the media guide. However, Bianucci has been made a nice transition, and is making noticeable improvement each week. So far he has committed only three errors in 78 games, and been one of the nice surprises for the Express.

Impact Pitcher: LHP Martin Perez (2-1, 3.10 ERA in June)

After a May 25 start against Nashville Martin Perez’s ERA had risen to 5.80 and things were not looking good for the lefthander hurler. To make matters worse, the Rangers decided to call up RHP Justin Grimm from Double-A instead of Perez when injuries hit in Arlington.  But rather than getting down on himself Perez worked hard in his bullpen sessions and workouts. In addition, the 21-year-old started throwing more in the bullpen before games. Perez started pitching better and everything culminated in a 90 pitch complete game on June 21 at The Dell Diamond. Six days later the Venezuelan was promoted to the big leagues. And on June 30 Perez made his first major league start and threw 5.1 innings giving up only two runs.

Not In My House: Last month the highlight play was INF Yangervis Solarte’s walk off single on May 21. Exactly one month later OF Joey Butler climbed the wall in right field to rob Cubs prospect 1B Anthony Rizzo of yet another home run. Before being called up to the Cubs on June 25, Rizzo was leading the PCL with 23 homers. The Express would later to go on to win the game behind Perez’s complete game.

The Closer: When the Rangers called up RHP Tanner Scheppers on June 7, a void was left in the back end of the bullpen. Before being called up Scheppers had nine of the Express’s 11 saves on the season. Manager Bobby Jones decided to turn to nine-year major league veteran Aaron Heilman. Since being inserted into the closer’s role Heilman has been dominant going 6-for-6 in save opportunities. The 32-year-old had a 1.50 ERA in June, and will make the manager’s job tougher when Scheppers comes back to Round Rock. 

Fairytale Story: Bell has made a long journey this season. He began his year in Class-A Myrtle Beach as a piggyback starter. Then the 23-year-old moved up to Double-A Frisco where he made six appearances as a reliever before being moved to the starting rotation. Finally, he came to Round Rock to take RHP Neil Ramirez’s place in the rotation. Bell made his Triple-A debut on June 26 at Iowa, and was impressive in going 5.2 innings and only giving up one earned run while striking out seven. Since being moved up to Round Rock, Bell is 2-0 with a 0.77 ERA.

Overall Records:

(MLB) Texas Rangers: 50-31, 5.0 game lead

(Double-A) Frisco Roughriders: 3-8, 6.5 games back

(Advanced-A) Myrtle Beach Pelicans: 10-3, 1.0 game lead

(A) Hickory Crawdads: 10-3, 2.0 game lead

(Short Season) Spokane Indians: 7-12, 4.0 games back