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Reaction: Nick Tepesch efficient on mound

3/4/2014

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- On the sheet that pitching coach Mike Maddux carries with him, it says that most starters are scheduled to throw two innings or 35 pitches.

Nick Tepesch made sure that pitch count got him an extra inning in Monday's 6-5 loss to the Cleveland Indians. The right-hander, one of those vying for a rotation spot, needed 34 pitches to get through three innings. He allowed two hits and nothing else.

The other thing Tepesch did: throw his changeup. It’s a pitch that he talked about this offseason as a key one if he wanted to claim a spot in the rotation. He said he threw it “six or seven times” and got some swings and misses and a ground ball out of it.

"I thought it was good," Tepesch said. "I buried one and kind of got lazy on one, but other than that it was a good pitch. I was in the zone with it and being in the zone with it is a big part of it -- just being able to command it in the zone. It’s not going to be effective if it’s not in the zone."

When he was done, Tepesch was congratulated by his teammates. On Monday, that included Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

"When I was done he came up and said good job just like the rest of my teammates," Tepesch said. "It was a cool thing to have him in camp. The biggest thing with him is he’s a winner and when you have people around like that and have a chance to talk to him and see how they do their thing, it’s always a good thing.”

Mixed results: Michael Choice's solid spring continued on Monday with a pinch-hit triple. Choice came in as a defensive substitute in the top of the sixth inning and then tripled in the bottom half. ... But while that was a good at-bat, his next one wasn't. Choice struckout on three pitches, unable to advance any runners. Choice is 4-for-10 in Cactus League games and, for the most part, has hit the ball hard, even on outs.

Web gem: Brent Lillibridge continues to make sure he's noticed early in spring training. While he didn't do much with the bat on Monday, he made a dazzling play on a ground ball hit by David Adams. Lillibridge, playing shortstop, ranged into the hole and made a long throw to first to get Adams by a step. It was an impressive play by the utility player, who continues to turn some heads.

Situational hitting: It may not have been the prettiest of hits, but Rangers' DH Mitch Moreland did his job in the second. With a runner at third and one out, Moreland hit a chopper out in front of the plate to score a hard-charging Alex Rios. It's those kinds of plays that hitting coach Dave Magadan is focused on improving this spring. Moreland got another chance in the fourth, with runners at the corners and one out. He hit a grounder to the right side and the Indians could not turn a double play, allowing Beltre to score.

Patient at-bat: Shin-Soo Choo is still looking for his first hit of spring training, but the leadoff hitter got on base for the first time in a Cactus League game on Monday, drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch in the third.

Briefly: Former Ranger Jeff Francoeur had two hits and two RBIs against his old team. ... Alex Rios was 2-for-2 and is now 3-for-8 in Cactus League games. ... Jurickson Profar beat out a throw to first in the eighth to drive in a run.