PEORIA, Ariz. — Tanner Scheppers is beginning to make his case for a spot in the Texas Rangers’ bullpen.Scheppers started slowly, but has pitched well since returning from left hamstring tightness that sidelined him for a few days this spring. His latest was a perfect, eight-pitch inning in the Rangers’ 5-2 split-squad victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday afternoon at Peoria Sports Complex.“My body feels good, feels healthy; happy to get back out there again,” said Scheppers, who also threw a flawless inning in a “B” game on Wednesday.“Spring training is just a process to get ready for the season and making sure the body feels good.”Manager Ron Washington was pleased with Scheppers’ performance, but reiterated that there have been no decisions made on the bullpen other than Joe Nathan and Jason Frasor locking up spots.“He’s coming back at the right time, so he’s just got to keep pitching,” Washington said of Scheppers.The Rangers got strong pitching performances all the way around, except for a two-run homer served up by Yoshinori Tateyama in the sixth inning.Offensively, Jeff Baker continues to produce and strengthen his case for a bench spot. He went 3 for 3 with a two-out RBI single in the first and is batting .481.Baker can play five positions — both corner outfield and infield spots as well as second base — and has experience as a pinch hitter.“He’s swinging the bat extremely well, not missing his pitches,” Washington said. “He can play and he’s taking advantage of the opportunity.”Brandon Allen and Jim Adduci each had two-run home runs. Allen swatted a towering shot over the right-field fence in the third inning, while Adduci roped one to the left-center field lawn in the fifth.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison