Will Colby Lewis be back by Opening Day


April 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher

Colby Lewis

(48) during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers won 7-2 beating the Rays. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

This past November the Texas Rangers re-signed RHP Colby Lewis to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.   It might not sound like Lewis was given a very good deal, but it is a pretty solid contract.  He’ll make a pro-rated amount of the $2 million while he’s in the majors and he could earn another $4 million with the added incentives.

Colby Lewis, who is 34 years old, hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 18, 2012.  Since then he’s been out with injuries and also 2 surgeries.  Now, Lewis is healthy and ready to get back on the mound with the Texas Rangers.

Lewis was recently on the radio talking about his recovery and his attempt to make it back to the majors.

"“I want to be able to roll in and hit the ground running,” Lewis told The Fan. “I don’t want to have any limitations. I don’t want them to put me on any limited regiment. I want to go out and compete and them not worry about what’s going on.” (NBCDFW – Adam Boedeker)"

Although Lewis sounds confident about his health and returning to baseball, in my opinion it is unlikely he’ll be in the starting rotation by opening day.   I do expect him to be pitching in the minors very soon, possibly by opening day.  The good thing is, he is healthy and ready to get back in the game.  He’s a fierce competitor and will go out there and give it his all every day and every game.  With that kind of toughness, he should be able work his way back to the majors at sometime this year.

With that said, there is a chance that Lewis could be in the rotation by opening day and if it were up to him, he would be.

Lewis has been doing some throwing recently.  Which is the first time since his hip surgery.  Mike Maddux and the Texas Rangers staff have seen video of Colby Lewis throwing recently.

"“He’s feeling good,” Maddux said. “I’ve seen video of him throwing, and he looks free and easy. He’s able to get off his back side, that’s something he hasn’t been able to do (because of the hip) in a while. Now he can push off the mound. Before, he was falling down hill.”  (TR Sullivan – MLB.com)"

Pitchers and catchers report to camp next week and Colby Lewis will be in that group.  But, the Rangers probably won’t be throwing him on the mound first thing.  They’ll be careful on his workouts and his daily activities until him and the Texas Rangers’ staff feel he is able to perform at a competitive level.

"“Great things from Colby,” Maddux said. “Of course he’s going to be on a little different program (in spring training) because the surgery and the procedure he had nobody else has had it. We’re going to have to listen to him and really get with the medical team. We’re in unchartered waters right now but if anybody’s going to find their way to shore it’s Colby Lewis.” (Anthony Andro – Fox Southwest)"

Also, even though the Rangers rotation is missing Derek Holland, there isn’t any additional rush to bring him back.  Jon Daniels has stated that him and Matt Harrison will be monitored carefully and not rushed to return.  This is good, because in the long term, the Rangers will need to have healthy pitching deep in the season.

If Colby Lewis is able to comeback this season, which I think he will, that will give the Rangers another quality starter to their rotation.  Lewis, since coming back from playing ball in Japan has an ERA of 4.68 with a record of 44-42.  He had his best year in 2012, but it was cut short due to injuries.  He finished 2012 with an ERA of 3.43 and a record of 6-6.

Lewis may best be remember for his postseason play.  Over his 8 starts in 2010 and 2011, he had an overall ERA of 2.34 and a record of 4-1.   Against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, he was almost unhittable.  Over 2 starts, 11 innings, he only gave up 3 hits and 1 run against the Rays.  Colby Lewis was a key part of both World Series runs, hopefully he’ll be able to help the Texas Ranger make another run for it this year.