Colby Lewis #48 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Houston Astros in the 1st inning on May 20, 2012 during interleague play at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.
Listening to Colby Lewis address the media on Monday night after it was announced he would miss the remainder of the season with a torn flexor tendon in his elbow was tough. Watching him was even harder.
An emotional Lewis spoke to the media after it was announced he was done for the season, and possibly as a Ranger as he will be a free agent in the upcoming off-season.
Lewis has been the model of reliability for the Rangers since resurrecting his career in 2010 after spending some time in Japan. He's eclipsed 200 innings the past two seasons for the Rangers and has established himself (at least so far) as the greatest postseason pitcher in club history with just one loss and a sub-3.00 ERA. He had two key wins in the 2010 ALCS victory over the New York Yankees, including the clinching Game 6 and then won the Rangers' only game of the 2010 World Series. When you think of Lewis, one cliche baseball term comes to mind — BULLDOG.
That's why it was hard to hear Lewis talk about his elbow on Monday. You know Lewis would give everything he had to be pitching for the Rangers down the stretch. And he thought he'd be able to after his most recent stint on the disabled list when an MRI revealed a small tear in the tendon. He thought he might be able to pitch through it, and he tried. On July 18, Lewis went five innings, giving up one run on a solo homer, three hits, three strikeouts and two walks before exiting after just 75 pitches when the pain became too much.
He finishes the 2012 season with a 6-6 record and a 3.43 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 14 walks.
"Through my bullpen sessions, through everything, it felt great leading up to it. Long toss and everything felt perfect. Getting loose in the bullpen I had no issues," Lewis told the media. "Then in the third inning, it started to progressively get tighter and tighter. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go deep into ballgames and be the guy that the team needed me to be."
The saddest part of all this for Lewis is that he was in line to get a pretty nice payday this off-season, and it probably wasn't going to be with the Rangers, but someone would've paid up for his services. Now, that won't happen. Let's be real, he'll be just fine financially, but things could've been better. And if anyone deserved a payday, it was him.
As sad as it might be for Lewis, it could be a good thing for the Rangers, who could get Lewis at a largely discounted rate in the off-season and could nurse him along until he's ready to go again, which could be about this point next season. That would be a nice midseason acquisition to have, no?