So many players were in Texas Rangers camp at the start of workouts that the clubhouse staff was forced to erect six temporary lockers in the middle of the spacious room.

It’s not exactly Park Place, and the players who typically end up there are typically the first ones to be moved elsewhere when roster cuts become a necessity.

Nick Tepesch was on the island as one of six long shots to make the Rangers’ roster. He has since been moved to a permanent locker, and he has all but secured a locker at Rangers Ballpark to start the season.

The right-hander has a firm grasp on the fifth spot in the Rangers’ rotation. Only Derek Lowe or an unexpected development on the trade or free-agent markets could spoil Tepesch’s climb from Double A to the major leagues.

The Rangers haven’t announced him as the No. 5 starter, nor do they appear to be in any rush to do so, but two more candidates were eliminated from the competition Friday ahead of Tepesch’s latest spring start.

All signs were pointing to him opening 2013 in the Rangers’ rotation.

“He’s still here,” manager Ron Washington said. “It could go to the last day, but he’s still here right now. I’m not talking about the No. 5 starter until I’m ready to announce it, but he’s still fighting for the No. 5.”

Tepesch’s line Friday against Colorado wasn’t very pretty, as the Rockies got him for eight runs on 12 hits in five-plus innings. The good news is that Tepesch delivered 94 pitches, the most by a Rangers pitcher this spring, and he feels as if his curveball has started to come in.

He was also hampered by a couple of iffy defensive plays as well as a few weakly hit balls that were turned into hits by the tricky playing conditions in Arizona.

But Tepesch had trouble getting his fastball inside enough, and he walked the leadoff hitter to spark the Rockies’ three-run second inning. He brought on a lot of the trouble himself.

Nevertheless, he’s trying to block out thoughts of the competition and move forward after his third Cactus League start.

“I try not to think about that type of stuff and just do my job,” said Tepesch, who is 0-1 with a 6.50 ERA in 18 innings. “You learn from it. I was comfortable with all my pitches. I’m just going to go out there every day and do what I can do.”