Rangers notes: Nick Tepesch to start Sunday’s finale vs. Angels

Posted Friday, Sep. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Nick Tepesch was in the rotation to open the season and didn’t lose his spot until a tender elbow knocked him out for almost two months.

He will reclaim his place as a Texas Rangers starter Sunday.

Tepesch will start the finale of a three-game series at Angel Stadium, pushing left-hander Travis Blackley to the bullpen. The Rangers won two of the three starts Blackley made for them with Tepesch and Alexi Ogando on the disabled list, and the decision isn’t a knock on him.

Tepesch pitched well Monday in 3 1/3 relief innings against Oakland, and the Rangers want to give him a chance at the beginning of a game.

“He threw the ball well, and we just want to give him another chance,” manager Ron Washington said. “It’s just he’s going to start Sunday, and we’ll leave it at that right now.”

Tepesch is 4-6 with a 4.67 ERA this season, and the rookie right-hander has not faced the Angels. Though he threw only 28 pitches against the A’s, Tepesch said afterward that he should be able to throw 60 to 80 pitches if asked to start.

But he’s not guaranteed anything beyond Sunday. The Rangers will use the off day Thursday, their last of the season, to skip the No. 5 spot. Yu Darvish, Martin Perez and Matt Garza will start Monday through Wednesday against Pittsburgh, and Derek Holland, Darvish and Perez will pitch next weekend against Oakland.

Washington said the rotation is set through the rest of the season to give either Darvish or Holland the final start of the season or the first two starts of the postseason.

Ross losing out

Left-hander Robbie Ross didn’t retire any of the four batters he faced Wednesday, and all four scored in what rates as the worst outing of his career. Making matters worse were those who attacked him on Twitter.

The off day Thursday helped give Ross a mental breather, which he will need as he tries to reclaim his spot as a trusted lefty out of the bullpen.

That trust has eroded of late, with him unable to get out left-handed batters. He’s aware that aspect needs to improve, but he doesn’t want to let up against right-handed hitters.

“Just trying to get everyone out,” said Ross, who also wants to avoid the big inning. “I’m just trying to get back to feeling like I can a get lefty out by dominating them. I felt like that before the other day. Everyone can’t be perfect, but at the same time you’ve got to go out there and keep your team in the game.”

The Rangers won’t turn to him in close games for now, Washington said. The key for Ross is locating his pitches, which he didn’t do Wednesday and hasn’t done against left-handed hitters (.333 average against).

“Robbie can get outs,” Washington said. “Once he touches that rubber, he has to execute his pitches. That’s all it is. His stuff is still good. His velocity is still there. It’s just executing.”

Neal Cotts remains the first choice among lefties out of the bullpen. Travis Blackley is now in the mix along with Ross, Joseph Ortiz and Michael Kirkman.

Briefly

• Elvis Andrus returned to the starting lineup Friday after missing four games because of tightness in his lower back. He started at shortstop even though he hadn’t taken any grounders since Aug. 31 and batted in his usual second spot in the batting order.

• Washington admitted that rookie Engel Beltre batted out of order in the ninth inning Wednesday. Geovany Soto, the No. 6 hitter, led off with a homer, but Beltre, the No. 5 hitter, hopped in the batter’s box before the Rangers could get him out of there. Neither the umpires or Oakland manager Bob Melvin objected with the A’s leading 11-4.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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