The 24-year-old had not had the most productive camp up to this point, but he was still better than the remaining candidates. Tepesch is 0-1 with a 6.50 earned run average, 13 strikeouts, 18 innings and a .329 opponent batting average in five games (three starts) this spring.
“It feels good but I’ve still got a lot of hard work ahead of me,” Tepesch told Rangers.com. “I still have a couple more starts to do my thing. It’s just the beginning of the hard work. I’ve got to keep after it.”
Kirkman has been nearly flawless in five games (one start) in Spring Training. The 26-year-old has struck out eight batters and allowed three hits in nine scoreless innings. Many would have bet on Kirkman to be the fifth starter in the rotation after his solid performance, but the Rangers have decided they would rather have another left-handed power reliever in the bullpen.
“He’s so valuable in the bullpen,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said, according to Rangers.com. “We like what he’s doing and we want him to continue to have success. But he may start down the road. Lefties who do what he does are rare.”
Tepesch still has more chances between now and the regular season to hone his skills. However, he must be ready to go once April 9 comes, which is the day he is scheduled to make his debut. If he is unable to make the transition well, Texas will not hesitate to make a change.