Notes: Up-and-down day for Rupe

Notes: Up-and-down day for Rupe

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Josh Rupe flowed through two innings Thursday, looking every bit like a pitcher who came to camp as one of the leading candidates for the fifth spot in the Rangers rotation.

In those two scoreless innings, he allowed just one hit, wiped that out quickly with a double-play grounder and ended facing the minimum six hitters.

Then came disaster and more reason why his fifth-starter candidacy seems to be in deep trouble.

Rupe, who had followed Robinson Tejeda to the mound, fell apart in the sixth inning, allowing eight runs on four hits and four walks and ultimately ended up the losing pitcher in the Rangers' 15-12 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"He had two very smooth innings," said bench coach Art Howe, who was filling in for manager Ron Washington. "He started to run out of gas. That's not good. I liked what I saw in the first two innings. He was in total control and then he started missing the strike zone."

Rupe now has a 15.43 ERA for the spring and appears to be trailing Jamey Wright, Kameron Loe and even Bruce Chen in the fifth-starter competition.

"I don't know," Rupe said afterward. "I just don't know. I was doing good and on a roll and all of a sudden ... I was just short, just off. The ball was moving and I wasn't controlling it. It wasn't good."

Tejeda allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings but only two were earned. Three runs came across with two outs in the third when left fielder Jason Botts slipped going after Chris Young's catchable line drive with the bases loaded, turning it into a three-base error.

"He can be better," Howe said. "I'm sure he knows he can be better. He has the stuff to be better."

Gagne good in camp: Eric Gagne threw one scoreless inning in a Minor League camp game back in Surprise, Ariz., on Thursday, striking out one. Gagne, pitching for Triple-A Oklahoma against Omaha, threw 14 pitches, including 10 for strikes in his second appearance of the spring. He threw in a "B" game against Milwaukee on Monday.

"I felt a lot more in control out there today," Gagne said. "I had a lot more control compared to my first outing. I felt crisp, but I was only throwing at about 85 percent. I was trying to put myself in game situations out there today and read the hitters.

"I did not overthrow today. I thought my changeup was really good. All but one was knees and below. I tried to throw some back-door curveballs, and I tried to work some mechanics. I didn't feel stiff today; I felt really good."

As far as his next outing, Gagne said, "We'll see how I feel [Friday]."

C.J. Wilson pitched two innings in the game and allowed one hit. He was followed by Wes Littleton, who added one scoreless inning.

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Hairston headed for 40-man: General manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers are planning to add veteran utilityman Jerry Hairston to the 40-man roster. He is in camp on a Minor League contract and could have become a free agent Thursday if not added to the 40-man.

The Rangers haven't made the move official, but Daniels told Hairston and his agent that it would get done. Hairston was 2-for-3 on Thursday and is now hitting .417 for the spring. He obviously has a strong chance of making the team as a utility infielder.

"At this point, we told him we want him to continue to compete and continue to do the little things that he has done in camp," Daniels said. "If he continues to do the good things that he's doing, he's going to make the team."

Hillcrest meets Sosa: The Dallas Hillcrest High School baseball team is in Tucson this week and was able to go onto the field with the Rangers during batting practice Thursday.

The Panthers also had their entire team pose for a picture with Rangers outfielder Sammy Sosa. Rangers third-base coach Don Wakamatsu snapped the picture behind the batting cage.

"We can go home now," head coach Mike Tovar said. "That's big. That photo is going to be somewhere in our locker room. It may go in my living room."

The Panthers raise money every year to take a trip in the spring, and they are playing three games this week in the Tucson area.

He said it: "I wanted to see him throw strikes and see him use all his pitches and he did that. He's progressing just the way we wanted. He gets better every time he pitches." -- Washington on Gagne

Byrd leaves game: Outfielder Marlon Byrd left Thursday's game in the first inning when he was hit on the right hand by a pitch. He was taken to the local hospital for X-rays, and the results were negative. He said afterward he expects to be ready to play Friday.

Coming next: Wright, who threw three perfect innings in his last outing Sunday against the Angels, resumes his bid for the fifth-starter spot when he pitches against the San Diego Padres at 9:05 p.m. CT Friday at Surprise Stadium. Clay Hensley pitches for the Padres.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.