Nick Tepesch has a firm grasp on the No. 5 spot in the rotation after right-handers Justin Grimm and Randy Wells were told they will open the season in Triple A.
Tepesch is starting Friday against Colorado. Derek Lowe logged three good innings Thursday night and one spectacularly poor one against the Angels. He would be the lone pitcher who could unseat Tepesch, but that seems highly unlikely with less than a week left before the club breaks camp.
Tepesch came to camp as a non-roster invitee after finishing 2012 at Double A Frisco. But he had shown a command of all four of his pitches, and his mound demeanor has also made an impression. Pitching coach Mike Maddux said that Tepesch also has a high aptitude and is a faster learner.
Wells confirmed that he will start at Round Rock after just missing on a competition that also included Grimm, Robbie Ross and Martin Perez. Ross was sent to the bullpen Thursday, and Perez has been out since March 3 with a broken left ulna.
"Guys pitched well and made it competitive," Wells said. "I just came up short. It's never what you want to hear, but I've been around long enough. I know how the game works."
-- Jeff Wilson