Colby Lewis is seemingly getting closer and closer to a return to the big leagues, or a request for free agency.
According to Lewis' minor-league contract, if he isn't on the Texas Rangers' 25-man roster by April 10, he can request free agency. On Sunday, Lewis had a so-so outing in Triple-A Round Rock. From a pitch count standpoint, he passed the test, throwing 98 pitches. He needed all those pitches to get through five innings, allowing two unearned runs and two earned ones. He struck out three.
The Rangers need a starter for their April 11 game against the Houston Astros, and with the way the rotation is lined up, it could be Lewis or it could be Joe Saunders, who took a comebacker off the ankle on Friday in Tampa and could be put on the disabled list.
Lewis most likely isn't quite ready for his first big league start since July 2012, but do you put him on the roster in hopes of his soon being ready, or do you risk him opting out of his deal with the Rangers?
It's hard to imagine Lewis would actually opt out, especially if he truly isn't ready for MLB action. But the chance is there.
The Rangers want nothing more than for Lewis to be in their rotation, especially with guys like Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross being forced into the rotation when they'd probably be best-suited for the bullpen. But at this point, anything positive you get from Lewis has to be considered a bonus, and that's sad for one of the toughest competitors in Rangers recent history, and the greatest postseason pitcher in franchise history.