The Texas Rangers have put together a patchwork pitching staff quite nicely so far this year with Nick Tepesch being effective, until his most recent two starts, as a surprise No. 5 starter out of spring training and Justin Grimm stepping in to fill the void left by injured No. 2 pitcher Matt Harrison, winning AL Rookie of the Month honors in April after a brief 2012 debut with highs and extreme lows.
But there are reinforcements coming for the Rangers' pitching staff as Mr. Reliable Colby Lewis is throwing extended spring training outings after undergoing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow last summer. Martin Perez, who was the unquestioned frontrunner to win the No. 5 job in spring training, is recovering from a broken arm suffered during the spring and made his first rehab start on Monday night for Double-A Frisco.
Perez's outing was solid, working four innings, allowing one run on five hits with a strikeout and no walks, but he's still massively unproven and it could easily be argued Tepesch and Grimm have now proven more than Perez has. In fact, it's hard to argue otherwise for a guy that has not even dominated Double-A in his career, much less the bigs.
Lewis is obviously proven as arguably the greatest postseason pitcher in Rangers history but his health is a big question. Just because he's ready to return after the surgery on his elbow, you never know how people are going to return after elbow surgery.
Even still, Rangers manager Ron Washington said Lewis will have a spot in the rotation when he's ready to return, which is probably the right move, at least initially.
“It’s great that we’re getting our pitching back, it gives us depth,” Washington told ESPN Dallas. “But it’s gonna come down to what’s best for us and what’s best for the player at the time. Then a decision will be made.
“If we all feel that [Nick] Tepesch needs to be here or [Justin] Grimm needs to be here, those other guys are going to have to wait their turn. There’s only one guy that I see, when he’s ready to go, he’s going to be here, that’s Mr. Hipster, Colby [Lewis]."
Yes, "Mr. Hipster," whatever that means. But that's a good approach to take for the Rangers. Perez is far from being a lock for a rotation spot in the bigs. In fact, with the way Tepesch and Grimm have pitched, it's very likely he'll end up going back to Frisco or Round Rock and trying to dominate in the minors, something he's yet to really do.
Lewis being the Lewis of old would be a huge development for the Rangers as he would almost serve as a "free" midseason addition.