Hardly any pitchers are assets at the plate, especially in the American League.
But veteran Colby Lewis is about as close as it comes among those who don't hit every fifth day, and on Friday night he'll get some cuts against the Washington Nationals in their young phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
Lewis, in his current stint with the Rangers dating back to 2010, is 5-for-19 at the plate, good for a .263 batting average, and four RBIs — a pretty respectable line for an American League pitcher.
Manager Ron Washington had tried to shuffle the rotation last month before the Rangers headed off to Colorado to avoid Lewis and Matt Harrison having to step in the batter's box. Of course, things have changed since then. Harrison is out for the season and Lewis is now in the rotation to pitch in a National League park.
It's not so much hitting that had concerned the Rangers' brass and medical staff as what happens after a hit, which is of course, running the bases on a surgically repaired hip.
"If something were to happen and I got on, I’m not going to go try to steal second,” Lewis told the Star-Telegram. “If [NHL defenseman Ed] Jovanovski is playing hockey on it and getting checked into the boards, I figure it’s a pretty stable joint.”