Rangers notes: Tepesch part of the Rangers’ impressive pitching depth

Posted Sunday, May. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Pitching depth is always a necessity throughout the season, and manager Ron Washington couldn’t be more pleased with the Texas Rangers’ depth to this point.

Rookies Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm have filled in the gaps well, and Colby Lewis and Martin Perez, who are close to recovering from injuries, are set to begin rehab assignments this week.

“Like they say, you can never have too much pitching, and we got a lot of it right now,” Washington said.

Tepesch will make his sixth start Monday night against the Cubs and looks forward to pitching — and hitting — in historic Wrigley Field. He has exceeded expectations so far by going 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA over five starts.

Tepesch has lived up to his billing as a strike thrower and a pitcher who has poise beyond his years. Nothing, it seems, has fazed the 24-year-old.

Neither has the idea that his job could soon be in jeopardy, not based on performance but on when Lewis and Perez are ready to return.

“I just worry about myself and try to help this team,” Tepesch said. “I don’t really worry about those outside distractions.”

Tepesch has certainly done his part, as well as the entire pitching staff. The Rangers went into Sunday’s game with a combined 3.02 ERA, the best in the majors and the lowest in club history through 30 games.

Pierzynski starts

The Rangers were facing a left-handed starter and had a day game Sunday after Saturday’s night game, but that didn’t keep catcher A.J. Pierzynski out of the lineup.

Pierzynski wanted to play, and Ron Washington had no interest in arguing with the veteran catcher.

“Pierzynski is stubborn, he wanted to play, so he’s playing,” Washington said. “I might’ve gotten punched out if I would’ve tried to take A.J. out.”

Pierzynski appreciates Washington’s faith in him, as he admitted to struggling at the plate. He went into Sunday’s game batting .232 over his last 18 games. He struck out his first three at-bats Sunday.

“Every day he says, ‘you’ll get it,’” Pierzynski said. “So it’s good to know the manager has confidence in you.”

Pierzynski had three days’ rest last week, including an off day in the schedule, and Washington said he’d find time for backup Geovany Soto on the upcoming road trip.

Ross, Scheppers shining

Left-hander Robbie Ross and right-hander Tanner Scheppers each have sub-1.00 ERAs through the first month, which is impressive considering both have been used in high-leverage situations.

Ross has stranded all 14 inherited runners this season, while Scheppers has allowed only one run over 14 appearances.

“Things are going good, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Scheppers said. “I’ve got to go out there and continue to stay focused.”


• Lance Berkman is not expected to start in the field the next three games when the Rangers play under National League rules. “It’ll probably be a nice time for him to catch a break and pinch-hit off the bench,” Ron Washington said.

• David Murphy rejoined the team Sunday after missing a day with a stomach bug. Murphy reported significant improvement and entered Sunday’s game in the sixth inning.

• Washington praised the improved base-running by Mitch Moreland on Sunday morning: “Now, he’s putting himself in that position, and the decisions are being made properly. Sometimes you’re going to react, and you’re going to react totally wrong, but you have to react to react right.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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