The Texas Rangers and Colby Lewis are getting close to a jumping off point in terms of the veteran's future with the club. Lewis took another step on Tuesday toward a comeback from elbow and hip surgeries that have had him off a big-league mound since July 2012 when he pitched in an exhibition for the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock.
Lewis threw 92 pitches in the outing, lasting 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts. Sounds good, right? Well, he also allowed 10 hits and five runs, which makes it fairly remarkable he made it into the sixth inning on just 92 pitches.
The Rangers were likely concerned less with Lewis' performance in the exhibition than they were with his proving he could handle a starter's workload. After all, a healthy Lewis is likely going to be better than Nick Martinez in the No. 5 starter's job. But here's the deal, the Rangers have to make a decision on Lewis by April 10. According to his contract and service time, Lewis could opt for free agency if he's not on a big-league roster by that date.
There is time for him to make one more start, likely for Double-A Frisco this weekend, to give the club one last look at him, and that's most likely what will happen. Then, they'll have to make a decision on the guy who's been the best postseason pitcher in club history, and it's not even really close.
Lewis is an easy guy to root for, but it's hard to expect much from him after being out of the game for so long and with his injury history. But anything he can give the Rangers will be a bonus, and we'll find out one way or another very soon.