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Rangers send down five, including Michael Kirkman

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Mar 6, 2012; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Robbie Ross (46) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.  Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Mar 6, 2012; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Robbie Ross (46) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Per Jeff Wilson on Twitter, the Rangers have sent five players down to AAA, with the most noteworthy of the group being lefthanded pitcher Michael Kirkman.

Kirkman came into camp as the favorite to land the vacant lefthanded reliever role, but he has struggled with his command once again this spring, with the result being that he will not be on the Opening Day roster.

Wilson says that the battle for the lefty reliever job is down to Robbie Ross and Neal Cotts, both non-roster players, with Cotts being a veteran while Ross has only a handful of appearances above A ball. However, given that Jon Daniels just recently downplayed the possibility that either Mark Lowe or Koji Uehara are in jeopardy of not making the team, the other possibility is that the Rangers keep Yoshinori Tateyama as the 7th reliever, meaning that the team would not have any lefthanders in the bullpen.

Also being sent down are Greg Reynolds, Tanner Scheppers, Luis Martinez, and Dusty Brown. None of those four were considered to have realistic shots of making the team, although if the Rangers are committed to having Josh Hamilton as their everyday centerfielder, keeping Martinez as a third catcher, instead of Brandon Snyder, is a move that would make sense.