Colby Lewis closed out the Texas Rangers' Cactus League schedule on Wednesday by throwing five shutout innings against the Seattle Mariners — his longest outing of the spring, and easily his most effective.
And afterward, he was ticked.
“I’m healthy. That’s all I’ve got,” Lewis told reporters in Surprise, Ariz. “You guys can write whatever you want.”
Why was he mad? Well, because the Rangers had announced their starting rotation to begin the season, and it didn't include Lewis, known as a bulldog competitor. Lewis should be upset. He's come a long way since he last pitched in the majors in July 2012, and he feels he is ready to get back in the starting rotation on a big-league club. The Rangers don't think he's quite there yet, and they're right to think so.
"Colby, from a pitch count standpoint, will be ready as soon as we want him," Daniels told 105.3 The Fan. "Our mentality is that when he comes back, we have to be sure he is ready to roll. We need a fifth start somewhere between the 5th and 8th [of April], so can slot him in anywhere in there. After Colby makes those two starts [one in extended spring training and one in the minors], we will make a decision on whether we bring him back in Arlington or whether we ask him to make additional minor league starts. I'm pretty optimistic on Colby."
Lewis threw 72 pitches on Wednesday to work the five scoreless innings, and the Rangers want him to get up to the 90-100 pitch count before bringing him to Arlington. It makes perfect sense. When you're talking about a guy who hasn't pitched in the majors in nearly two years, you want to be sure he's ready.
Is Lewis right to be upset? Sure he is. He's the greatest postseason pitcher in Rangers history and has always had the right attitude about things. This isn't a spiteful deal, it's Lewis' competitive fire showing it's still burning hot, and that's a great thing for the Rangers.