SURPRISE, Ariz. — The company line regarding Nick Tepesch this spring is to not speak too much about his chances at opening the 2013 season as the Texas Rangers fifth starter.The company line at Tepesch Inc. just so happens to be the same thing.While no one is saying publicly that Tepesch is in the hunt, he is, and his start Saturday against Oakland was a full-blown audition.It appears he will get a call-back.Tepesch allowed one run on three hits in three innings, pitching out of trouble in the last inning, to continue an early-spring hot streak in which he has opened some eyes.But not many mouths.I just go about my business and work as hard as I can every day, Tepesch said. Whatever happens happens. Just control what I can control. Thats probably the best way to say it.Tepesch breezed through the first two innings, allowing only one hit and needing just 22 pitches to record the first six outs. The right-hander retired the first two hitters in the third on seven pitches.Oakland, though, mounted a two-out rally when the speedy Coco Crisp singled. Chris Young walked, followed by an RBI single by Jed Lowrie and a walk to Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases.Tepesch was on the verge of walking Brandon Moss, but he got him to chase a full-count slider. Tepesch had limited the damage and was in line for a victory when he exited the game.Thats what you try to do when stuff like that happens, he said. I felt like I kind of got out of rhythm a little bit with my mechanics. That stuffs going to happen, and youve got to deal with it.Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux left impressed with Tepesch, who has never pitched above Double A. Neither had Robbie Ross before last season, but he came to camp and won a spot in the Rangers bullpen.Maddux called Tepesch a flat-liner, one who doesnt show a lot of emotion on the mound. That came in handy while wiggling out of the third-inning jam.When things are going easy, everybody looks good, Maddux said. But when things get hairy, thats when you show what you are made of. He stuck to his guns and never gave in. I thought it was a pretty good outing.Ross is among the other starters competing with Tepesch to open this season in the rotation. The competition is far from over, but Tepesch remains in the mix after allowing only two runs in his first eight spring innings.Even if no one wants to say much about it.I felt like I didnt have my best stuff, but I competed and tried to attack hitters and go right after them, Tepesch said. I felt like it was a pretty good day overall.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson