Tepesch, Contreras out of running for rotation
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Nick Tepesch and Jose Contreras are officially out of the Rangers' rotation competition.
The Rangers announced on Monday that Tepesch has been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock. There was a point this winter after Derek Holland suffered his knee injury that Tepesch appeared to be the leading candidate to be the Rangers' fifth starter.
But that started changing after the Rangers signed free-agent starters Tommy Hanson and Joe Saunders. Tepesch also did not have a good spring. He pitched eight innings over three appearances and allowed 10 runs on 19 hits. He walked two and struck out two.
"I'm just going to try and get better and work on some things, really just get more consistent," Tepesch said. "I've had a couple of rough outings, but there have been some positives."
Tepesch broke camp last year as the Rangers' fifth starter and was 4-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 17 starts and two relief appearances. But he missed most of the second half with inflammation in his elbow.
"He looked rusty," manager Ron Washington said. "He came up last year, got hurt, was rehabbing for 2 1/2 months and didn't do much over the winter. He needs to go down and get into a routine. We know he can pitch, he just has to go out and do it. It's time to get into a routine and get back in a groove."
Tepesch will continue as a starter at Round Rock and could still play a key role for the Rangers. Last season, the Rangers used nine different starters in the first half. Justin Grimm was called up less than two weeks after Opening Day when Matt Harrison got hurt.
Contreras, 42, who was in camp on a Minor League contract, was informed by the Rangers that he would not make the team. Contreras, who had quickly become a popular player in the clubhouse, has told the Rangers he is considering his options. One possibility is retirement.
Contreras looked good enough early in camp for Washington to include him among his rotation candidates. But Contreras, 42, allowed seven runs on 13 hits in six innings.
The Rangers also sent pitchers Miles Mikolas, Cory Burns and Daniel Bard back to Minor League camp. Bard is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery and is hoping to start throwing off a mound later this week.
Mikolas, acquired in the offseason for first baseman Chris McGuiness, was set back early in camp with elbow inflammation and could never mount a challenge to win a spot in the bullpen. Burns had a 3.18 ERA in 10 games for the Rangers last season but allowed 11 runs in 4 1/3 innings this spring.