SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 03: Colby Lewis #48 of the Texas Rangers pitches during the top of the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Surprise Stadium on March 03, 2014 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Look, we've said it many times on these pages, spring training baseball isn't much of a gauge of anything, especially for veterans.
Colby Lewis is one of those rare cases of a seasoned, hardened vet who could use some positive vibes this spring. The Texas Rangers pitcher, who hasn't pitched in a big-league game since July 2012, is trying to rehab from numerous injuries and surgeries, most recently a hip resurfacing procedure that has basically reworked his delivery due to the fact he actually is pitching without hip pain and can stride farther in his delivery.
In his Cactus League debut, as he attempts to crack the Rangers' rotation, couldn't have gone much worse last week. He threw 32 pitches and didn't even get out of the first inning. He threw more balls than strikes. It was just awful.
On Sunday, things were much better for Lewis, who is still the greatest postseason pitcher in Rangers history, until further notice, and a great story to root for heading into the 2014 season.
Lewis worked two scoreless innings against the Seattle Mariners, outpitching Seattle ace Felix Hernandez for what that's worth (not much), allowing just two baserunners. He needed only 23 pitches to navigate through his six outs. He only threw 13 strikes, which is still not terribly efficient, but don't fret, Rangers fans. That new delivery is going to take Lewis some time to adjust to, but the fact he's pitching comfortably for the first time in years is well worth it.
Lewis might not figure it out by the time the season begins, but it's hard to imagine taking him much longer than that. He hopes to compete for a starting rotation spot and be in the Opening Day rotation. And the Rangers are unquestionably hoping for the same because if Lewis is good enough to win a spot, he's good enough to immediately be vaulted ahead of guys like Tommy Hanson, Joe Saunders and even Alexi Ogando, who could ideally return to the bullpen, where he seems better suited.
“I feel like I got back to being myself,” Lewis told The Dallas Morning News. “I had better results, that’s for sure.”
Again, not too much to be encouraged by considering it's a spring training game, but for a guy like Lewis, it means more than nothing.