Tepesch said he doesn’t need an MRI exam on the knee, but manager Ron Washington said there’s a little inflammation.
Tepesh departed with a 2-1 count against Josh Donaldson in the seventh inning of the Rangers' 5-1 loss. Rather than continue to battle through it, Tepesch did the smart thing and summoned the trainer and Washington to inform them of his health issue.
“I never felt anything like that before,” said Tepesch, who took the loss, going six innings and allowing three runs on four hits on 73 pitches. “I guess that’s the best way to put it. I never had any problems with it. Yeah, I don’t want to continue pitching if it’s going to affect how I’m pitching and affect the rest of the guys in the room.”
And indeed, the guys in the Rangers clubhouse were impressed with Tepesch’s effort.
He allowed just two baserunners in his first five innings before things went south in the sixth. With two outs, he threw a changeup to John Jaso, who homered to right to give the A’s a 2-1 lead.
To his frustration, Tepesch didn't close Oakland out from there. Yoenis Cespedes homered in the next at-bat to push the lead to 3-1.
Tepesch, 25, did show that he was able to finish innings off Saturday night, as in the second when, after a leadoff single by Brandon Moss, he retired Josh Donaldson on a 4-6-3 double play and enticed Stephen Vogt on a fly out to left. Tepesch then retired nine consecutive hitters until Vogt reached on an error by first baseman J.P. Arencibia with two outs in the fifth. Josh Reddick popped out to Adrian Beltre to finish the inning.
“He made tremendous progress,” Washington said of Tepesch. “You know when you get a chance to finish an inning, that’s a process right there. You got to be able to finish that inning; he got to the point [where] he got two outs [in the sixth] and he needed one more and that’s what he has to learn what to do. If he pitches the ball like he did today, he’ll be fine.”
Tepesch became an emergency reliever Tuesday night in New York when the Rangers ran out of bullpen arms. Pitching coach Mike Maddux praised Tepesch for answering the bell when the team needed him, and despite allowing the winning run in the 14th inning, the Rangers were impressed with how he came in on short notice.
There was a concern he couldn’t make his scheduled start Friday, so the club moved him back a day.
The move worked as Jerome Williams pitched six solid innings to beat the A’s.
Tepesch followed it up with a good outing himself -- he just didn’t finish the one inning he needed to.
“I thought he did great, he made two pitches -- the changeup he left up to Jaso and the fastball he got up over the plate to Cespedes,” Washington said. “In command all night. They powered the ball out of the ballpark on us tonight.”