Kiker working towards Clinton

Lone Star Dugout speaks with left-handed pitching prospect Kasey Kiker about his work in extended spring training and his expectations with the Clinton LumberKings, among other things.

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After a strong showing in his debut with the Short-Season Spokane Indians in 2006, many Rangers fans were eager to see how 19-year-old southpaw Kasey Kiker would perform in full-season ball. However, that was put on hold when last year's first round pick began his season in extended spring training.

"I found out how long I was going to be here and where I'm going to go after that. I'm happy with that," said Kiker of his thoughts when the Rangers informed him that he would be staying in Surprise for extended spring training. "They told me I would make 20 starts in Clinton, so I know that I'll move on up there, and I'm going to pitch the majority of the season there."

When the Alabama native joins the LumberKings – which Kiker estimates could be within the next two or three weeks – there are many questions surrounding fellow prospect Fabio Castillo and the possibility of joining him in Clinton.

"He [Castillo] will either go to Spokane or Clinton," he said. "He's pitching real well and he's definitely one of our premier pitching prospects. He throws really hard and he's got some good offspeed stuff too."

While pitching with Spokane last season, the Rangers kept Kiker on a strict pitch count. The lefty reached five innings just three times in 16 appearances.

"I know that as soon as I leave here I'll be at five innings," Kiker said when asked about his limitations this season. "I should be going out and throwing five innings every time, so I'd say at least 75-80 pitches. It'll probably stay around there the whole season."

Though the left-hander is looking forward to his jump to Clinton, he remains hard at work at the organization's complex.

"I wake up at around 6:15," Kiker said of his typical day.

After making a few mechanical changes, Kiker is pleased with his results so far.

"I'm pitching pretty well," he said. "We've got good pitching coaches down here and a good head coach. I've learned a new windup to kind of cut out my leg kick that was real big. I'm more consistent in the strike zone now. I'm also able to hold runners at first a lot better."

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