Alcides Escobar went 3 for 3 with three RBIs and Jason Vargas pitched seven strong innings to help the Kansas City Royals beat the Texas Rangers 8-4 Saturday.
Tommy Hanson, who is bidding for a Rangers' rotation spot, gave up seven runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings. Hanson threw 96 pitches, 56 for strikes, in 5 2-3 innings. His ERA jumped to 6.43.
"It's never a good time to go out there and have that performance," Hanson said. "Spring is coming to an end and obviously I wish I'd thrown better and have had more balls down. But I didn't."
Rangers rookie Michael Choice hit a three-run homer in the eighth and raised his average to .340.
SCHEPPERS WINS ROTATION SLOT
Tanner Scheppers, who has been used strictly as a reliever in the majors, will be in the Rangers' rotation to begin this season.
Scheppers, a 27-year-old right-hander, has made only eight starts, seven in 2010, in the minors. He threw a career-high 76 2/3 innings last year.
"That would have to be a concern, simply because he's never done that before," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Alexi Ogando, who made 18 starts last year, will return to the bullpen. He is 7-1 with a 2.46 ERA and three saves in 108 career relief appearances.
Joe Saunders, Colby Lewis, Robbie Ross and Hanson remain candidates for the final two rotation slots.
FELIZ TRYING TO WIN JOB
Neftali Feliz not only failed to win the closer's job, but the 2010 American League rookie of the year has yet to earn a bullpen spot.
Feliz, who logged 72 saves in 2010-11, had reconstructive elbow surgery in August 2012 and has yet to return to his previous form.
"We told him he wouldn't be the closer," Washington said, "but he still has a chance to make the team."
Could Feliz open the season in the minors? "I didn't say that," Washington said. "I said he's got to win a job on the team."
Rangers: Elvis Andrus (right forearm soreness) is still not healthy enough to make the throws as a shortstop, but was the DH on Saturday.
RANGERS ROSTER MOVE
The Rangers assigned infielder Brent Lillibridge to minor league camp. Lillibridge appeared in nine games with the Cubs and 11 with the Yankees last year.
Copyright Associated Press