Nick Tepesch basically had a rotation spot gifted to him last year as the Rangers entered spring training, only to see him totally blow his chance with an awful spring before heading to the minors, pitching well and then getting a shot back in Arlington with mixed results.
He wasn't the favorite to earn the No. 5 starter's job this year, but he is one of the prime candidates to fill the spot that opened up when Yu Darvish was shut down for the year with Tommy John surgery.
Tepesch had his first solid start of the spring on Tuesday, and it can hardly be called solid, but it was better than what he'd been throwing out there as he allowed three runs in five innings. It would seem the favorite to win the No. 5 starter's job is Nick Martinez, who came out of nowhere to open the season in the rotation in 2014 before bouncing around some from majors to minors and rotation to bullpen.
Tepesch has been pushed along by the team to work on keeping the ball low in the zone and using his sinker, but he's yet to really develop a third pitch, and his two pitches (fastball and curveball) aren't good enough to survive multiple times through the order in the bigs.
“I’d like to see him get the ball down in the zone a little more so that it sinks more than it runs,” manager Jeff Banister told The Dallas Morning News.