SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are going to Las Vegas and Nick Tepesch will be there to continue his long-odds bid of winning a spot in the starting rotation. Tepesch pitches Saturday while Robbie Ross takes the mound Sunday in a fifth-starter weekend in Las Vegas.
Tepesch, ranked as the Rangers' No. 18 prospect by MLB.com, pitched a scoreless inning in an intrasquad game and has followed that up with three solid outings in the Cactus League. He has pitched eight innings and allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight.
"He uses all his pitches," manager Ron Washington said. "Every pitch he has thrown has been effective because he hasn't given up a whole lot of hits."
Tepesch, a 14th-round pick out of the University of Missouri in 2010, was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 12 starts at Class A Myrtle Beach and 6-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 16 outings for Double-A Frisco in 2012. Combined he averaged 9.2 hits, 2.4 walks and 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings on the season.
Over the past two seasons, he has thrown 300 1/3 innings in the Minor Leagues. Ross had 381 2/3 innings of Minor League experience before making the Rangers out of Spring Training last season.
"So far it has been a pretty good spring," Tepesch said. "I'm just trying to get better every time out. I'm just focused on each day and going out and doing my thing and work hard, and whatever happens, happens."
Lowe introduces himself nicely in debut
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Derek Lowe wanted to make a good first impression with the Rangers. He did just that Friday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium.
Lowe, in his first Cactus League appearance for the Rangers, pitched two scoreless innings against the Giants. He allowed two hits and a walk just nine days after agreeing to a Minor League contract with the Rangers.
"Nine days ago I was pitching batting practice to my 9-year-old's Little League team," Lowe said. "Usually you have time to ease into Spring Training. Now I have to make a good impression."
Lowe started his afternoon by giving up a single to Andres Torres, who stole second base. But Lowe got Marco Scutaro to line out to right field, and Craig Gentry gunned down Torres trying to go to third.
"We might still be out there if not for that," Lowe said.
Pablo Sandoval flied out to left to end the inning. Buster Posey started the second with a walk but only after fouling off a couple of full-count pitches. Hunter Pence forced him at second with a grounder to short and Brandon Belt singled to right. Then Lowe finished his work by getting Gregor Blanco to ground one back to the mound, inducing a force at second, and retiring Brandon Crawford on a fly to center.
"The second inning was a lot better than the first," Lowe said. "I thought the first inning was a little rough but we got the line-drive double play. But the second inning was more competitive pitching. You can't duplicate this. You have to get out there and get in the competition and build on it."
Murphy content regardless of contract talks
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- David Murphy's agent, Michael Moye, is in town to visit with his clients. It's a good time for the Rangers to meet with him as well if they do have interest in working out a long-term contract with Murphy.
That was the Rangers' stated intention before Spring Training but they haven't broached the subject yet. Both Murphy and fellow corner outfielder Nelson Cruz are eligible for free agency after this season.
"I'll say the same thing I've said all along," Murphy said. "I'd love to be here and it makes a lot of sense for me to be here. Free agency is a privilege and waiting another year is not going to kill me. We'll wait and see what happens."
Assistant general manager Thad Levine, who handles most of the Rangers' major contract discussions with agents, declined to comment on Murphy's situation. But the Rangers have used Spring Training as a time to address potential contract extensions with players, usually when their agents are in town. The Rangers signed pitcher Derek Holland and second baseman Ian Kinsler to extensions last spring.
Murphy has been waiting to see if the Rangers were interested in talking to his agent this spring. So far they haven't. The Brewers just signed Carlos Gomez to a three-year, $24 million extension to keep him from becoming a free agent after the season.
"It's not like my feelings are hurt," Murphy said. "I understand the business side of baseball. I know all I have to do is go out and play and good things will happen."
Woods eager to stick with Rangers
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Coty Woods gave up a ninth-inning run in the Rangers' 6-2 victory over the Athletics on Thursday and showed a flash of anger on the mound. He had reason to be upset. Woods does not want to go back to the Colorado Rockies.
"I want to make this team and stay on this team," Woods said. "The guys are great and it's a winning team. I love baseball and I love to win. If you want to make the team, you can't give up runs. That's what yesterday was."
Woods was a Rule 5 Draft pick in December. He has to make the team on Opening Day and stay with the Rangers for the entire season or be offered back to the Rockies. The Rangers also could work out a trade with the Rockies but only after Woods clears waivers.
Woods had a 0.76 ERA and 16 saves at Double-A Tulsa last season but a 7.40 ERA in 23 games in the high altitude of Triple-A Colorado Springs. That's one good reason why he doesn't want to go back to the Rockies.
"I let it get to me too much," Woods said about pitching in Colorado Springs. "I was thinking about it too much. I'm used to having success. ... It humbled me a little bit. I had never really failed in my pro career. ... It made me keep working hard."
• Lance Berkman, who was off Friday, is only hitting .167 (4-for-24) but he has eight walks in 10 games.
• Washington on the changing style of offensive baseball: "Teams are trying to play baseball. It used to be teams would send those big bats up and try to power you to death. Now you have to play baseball. Look at the playoffs, it all comes down to execution. Look at the Giants, they did nothing but execute. It all comes down to playing total baseball."
• Washington on spending two days in Las Vegas: "I'm excited because it's a nice break in the routine. It's been a long spring. Even our off-days have come at the right time."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.