Tepesch will start against Cubs Saturday

SURPRISE, Ariz.-- RHP Nick Tepesch will get his second start of the spring during Saturday's split-squad game against the Chicago Cubs at Cashman Field in Las Vegas. Tepesch is using a strong performance in his first three outings to creep into the discussion as a darkhorse for the fifth starter spot in the rotation.

The 24-year old rookie allowed one run on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks in three innings in his first start last Saturday. He is scheduled to throw five innings today in his encore performance.

In three appearances, Tepesch has allowed two runs on six hits in eight innings with a 2.25 ERA and eight strikeouts.

"Every time I've gone out this spring I've been building up each time to prepare for the multiple innings I'll be throwing during the regular season," Tepesch said. "That's (starting) what I've done the last two years predominantly in the minor leagues and I'm comfortable doing it."

Today marks the second consecutive year the Rangers are in Las Vegas for Big League Weekend. Texas will play the Chicago Cubs today and Sunday in a pair of split-squad games. The Rangers are the home team today and Chicago earns the distinction on Sunday. Manager Ron Washington is in Las Vegas to lead those games.

"I'm excited. It is a break from the normal routine," Washington said. "It breaks the monotony for all the days we are down here (Arizona) and I am looking forward to it."

Last season's games were played in cool, cloudy and windy conditions, as Texas split the weekend series with the Cubs. Sunshine and temperatures in the mid-80s are predicted for this weekend's go around.

These games mark just the third time since 1994 that Texas left its spring home to play spring training games. In 2004, Texas was scheduled to play a pair against Colorado in Las Vegas but the short series was rained out.