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Examiner
  • Tepesch reflects on first half

  • Nick Tepesch is enjoying the All-Star break, even if the former Blue Springs High School and Rod's Sports A's all-state standout can't return to Eastern Jackson County to visit his family and friends because of an inflamed elbow.

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  • Nick Tepesch is enjoying the All-Star break, even if the former Blue Springs High School and Rod's Sports A's all-state standout can't return to Eastern Jackson County to visit his family and friends because of an inflamed elbow.
    Tepesch, who led the Wildcats and A's to state championships in 2007, is on the disabled list with a painful right (pitching) elbow.
    “It's more of a precautionary thing,” Tepesch said when asked about being placed on the disabled list following a 10-5 victory over Houston on July 5 in which he allowed four runs in five innings. “My elbow was a little sore, a little tender, so I've been doing some rehab. I didn't make the trip to Baltimore and Detroit and I've stayed down here (in Arlington) to work on my rehab.
    “Today, I played some catch. I'm going to be fine – it's just frustrating because we're in a pennant race and I want to get back to help the team win some games.”
    The Rangers are 54-41 at the break, and trail first-place Oakland (56-39) in the American League West by two games.
    “It's amazing being in a pennant race, especially being a rookie,” Tepesch said. “I'm a rookie, but all the guys on the team just treat me like a teammate. You look around and see guys like Adrian Beltre, Lance Berkman, A.J. Pierzynski – it's pretty unbelievable.”
    Tepesch got off to a sensational start with the Rangers, throwing 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball to beat Tampa Bay 6-1 in his major league debut.
    He also starred in a 2-1 victory June 23 at Busch Stadium when he out-dueled former World Series hero and Cy Young winner Adam Wainwright in a game that many of his friends and family members attended.
    “It was delayed about three hours by rain, but we didn't care,” said Jordan Whitworth, who played baseball with Tepesch at Blue Springs and with the A's. “He was supposed to pitch Saturday and they held him back until Sunday and it rained and everyone who went waited it out – and he gave us something to remember out on the mound.”
    That comment elicited a chuckle from Tepesch.
    “I loved seeing everyone from Blue Springs that weekend,” Tepesch said. “I'm going to keep in touch with my friends. If they call me, they're going to get a return call. I'm not going to change just because I'm playing baseball for a living.”
    He goes into the break with a 4-6 record, a 4.85 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 85.1 innings.
    “I feel like a professional player, but I still have to stop and think about being in the big leagues,” Tepesch admitted. “It gets easier as the season goes along, but it's still something – I'm living my dream. Not many people can say that, but I can.”
    Page 2 of 2 - He said he won't face any additional pressure once he returns to the Rangers’ starting rotation.
    “We're in a pennant race, and that brings some extra pressure,” he said, “but I have to do two things when I pitch to be satisfied with my performance. First, I want to pitch deep into every game to save the pen and second, I want to pitch well enough to give my team a chance to win.
    “If I do those two things, good things will happen for me and my team.”
    After a brief pause, he asked how the A's were doing in American Legion action this summer.
    “Didn't they just have the Wood Bat (Invitational)?” he asked. “That was so much fun. Pitching to guys swinging a wood bat is so much different than a guy swinging an aluminum bat. The Wood Bat was more like real baseball.”
    When he was told the A's did not make the quarterfinal round, he said, “That's tough. Mike (Rooney) does such a great job with that team. I know he'll have them ready for district (this weekend in Sedalia).”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
     
     
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