Colby Lewis wasn't himself for the first half of last season, and it was for a couple of reasons.
One was his obvious lack of production as a guy who was known as a bulldog and a reliable innings-eater. The second reason was his own anatomy.
Lewis was rushed into testing a surgically resurfaced hip, that had been a chronic source of pain since the mid-2000s, due to the Rangers' starting pitchers dropping like flies early in the year. Consequently, he was awful and there was thought he could be on his way out of the rotation.
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Of course, after the all-star break, Lewis turned it around and was the Rangers' best starter, looking more like the Lewis of 2010 and 2011, pre-elbow surgery in 2012 and the hip procedure the following year.
Now, Lewis is as healthy as he's been since those days as the Rangers are set to begin Cactus League play this week with a scheduled Lewis start against the defending AL champion Royals on Wednesday — possibly even healthier.
“Oh, , before I hurt the elbow,” Lewis told the Star-Telegram when asked when he last felt this healthy. “Well, probably even better because I don’t have the pain in the hip. I’ve had the pain in the hip since 2006. So, it had just progressively gotten worse. It’s just, there’s no more pain.”
That's a good sign for the Rangers, who are counting on Lewis' veteran presence to anchor the back of the rotation at the No. 4 spot while a host of young arms and Ross Detwiler battle it out for the fifth-starter spot.
And early in spring training, he's getting some rave reviews.
“I caught him in live BP the other day, and it was amazing,” Rangers catcher Carlos Corporan told the Star-Telegram. “The way he was performing and the way he was spotting up the ball. He was using a changeup against a right-handed hitter that I never saw before.”