Scheppers’ takes first step toward starting role

03/02/2014 4:42 PM

11/12/2014 4:07 PM

Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers mostly looked sharp in his first spring training appearance Sunday.

Scheppers allowed one hit, hit a batter, and struck out one in two innings of work. He threw 28 pitches, including 16 strikes. Most importantly, he said, his back felt fine. He’d been bothered by back spasms earlier this spring.

“Back felt 100 percent, no problems,” he said. “Didn’t even think twice about it.”

He threw mostly fastballs with the occasional slider. He’ll try to include more pitches, including a changeup, in his next outing.

“I need to attack the zone with everything. That makes the difference between someone who’s a good starter and someone who’s not,” said Scheppers, who’s trying to move from the bullpen to a starting role. “I think overall it was great, Everything felt good, just a little rusty.”

Scheppers said he hopes entering spring camp in “probably the best shape of my life” shows the organization that he’s intent on earning a starting role. He’s not concerned with the struggles the move has had on others.

“It worked for CJ Wilson, right?” he said. “It’s successful occasionally, is it not? Starting pitching is not a sprint. It’s a little bit more long distance so you have to pace yourself a little bit more. I’m not going to be shooting out of the gates trying to throw real hard. I think as a starter you just kind of fill it up and try to find a rhythm and go from there.”

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