Former Roughrider pitcher added to Red Sox player pool

Lee Ann Murphy
Community Editor
Mike Kickham

Springfield native and southpaw pitcher Mike Kickham, who played for both the Crowder College baseball Roughriders and for the Missouri University Bears. On Saturday, The Boston Red Sox announced that Kickham became the 50th addition to their player pool as the team prepares for the July 24 season opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. Kickham will participate in Boston’s Summer Camp as a non-roster invitee, as the team ramps up preparations for the 2020 Major League Baseball season.

Kickham joined the Sox with a minors contract in December 2019 and is on track to return to the major leagues for the first time since 2014. Kickham posted a 10.98 ERA over 30 1/3 innings for the Giants in 2013-14 and then bounced around the minors and the independent leagues.  Kickham’s journeyman sojourn brought him to the Cubs, Mariners, Rangers, a return stint with the Giants, and (for the past three seasons) the Marlins’ farm system.  A return call to the majors hasn’t come despite some decent numbers, as Kickham has a 4.06 ERA, 2.19 K/BB rate, and 7.8 K/9 over 835 1/3 career minor league frames.

With the Sox, Kickham has a chance at cracking the roster due to the uncertain nature of Boston's pitching team. Boston pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez, Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor have been sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19. Collin McHugh wont be ready to pitch by opening day.

are sidelined after positive COVID-19 tests, plus Collin McHugh won’t be fully ready to pitch by Opening Day.  That gives Kickham a shot at a roster shot.

Now 31, Kickham last pitched in the majors for the Giants during the 2014 season in two games. His sole other big league play happened in the previous season with 12 games and 3 starts for the San Francisco Giants.

Since then,  Kickham’s game has been with the Cubs, Mariners, Rangers, included a return stint with the Giants, and with the Marlin's farm system for the past three seasons.

Last season Kickham pitched in 31 games (13 starts) for the Marlins' Triple-A team in New Orleans, totaling a 4.80 ERA. 

During Spring Training this year, Kickham played in three Grapefruit League games for the Red Sox, allowing one run in 4 1/3 innings while striking out six and walking one.

Kickham was a standout at Springfield's Glendale High School before playing at Crowder for a year in 2009. At Crowder Kickham went 3-3 with a 5.62 ERA, fanning 47 batters in 41 innings.As a senior at Glendale, Kickham pitched to a 1.16 ERA with 65 strikeouts and hit .390 as an outfielder, earning all-conference recognition at both positions. The southpaw pitcher was also an all-Ozarks and all-district selection and the 2008 Springfield Leadoff Club MVP. After Crowder, Kickham played for the Bears at Missouri University where he had Kickham had a 4–9 record with a 5.25 ERA and 103 strikeouts, in 96 innings spanning 15 games.