ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rookie pitcher Nick Tepesch gets it. He knows he had a close call Saturday night with a line drive that scraped off his right wrist in the second inning of Saturday's 5-0 victory over Seattle.
"It definitely could have been a lot worse," Tepesch said.
Instead, X-rays on his wrist came back negative. He will be re-evaluated Sunday, but the Rangers expect Tepesch to make his next start Thursday at Minnesota. With Opening Day starter Matt Harrison out until at least the All-Star break and reinforcements such as Colby Lewis still a month or more away, the Rangers can't afford to lose another starting pitcher.
Rangers manager Ron Washington definitely thought the worst when he saw Seattle catcher Jesus Montero's line drive glance off of Tepesch with two outs in the top of the second. Washington, pitching coach Mike Maddux and senior director of medical operations Jamie Reed rushed out to the mound to check on Tepesch.
"I thought maybe something was broken," Washington said. "He's a tough kid."
Tepesch threw four warmup pitches after getting hit, and he said they all of them felt fine. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski said he has never seen a pitcher get cut by a line drive like that.
"I thought he was going to stay in," Pierzynski said. "he wanted to stay in. Obviously, the team and organization made the right call by taking him out of there. Hopefully, in five or six days, he's ready to pitch again."
The Rangers decided to play it on the safe side with a 24-year-old pitcher just breaking into the big leagues, knowing Tepesch wanted to stay in the game.
"He really wasn't saying anything," Washington said. "He wasn't showing any emotion. He was walking around because I'm quite sure it was hurting. He got on the mound, and he threw, and, in actuality, he thought he could finish. But we weren't going to take that chance."