Colby Lewis has already secured himself a spot among the most respected, revered starting pitchers in Texas Rangers history, at least until further notice.
When it comes to postseason pitching, there is no one that has been better in a Rangers uniform than Lewis, and his bulldog mentality and competitive grit have made him an easy choice as a fan favorite, having already returned from a devastating injury once in his career.
Now, the 34-year-old veteran is trying to do it again, and his goal is to win a starting rotation spot for the Rangers coming out of spring training after signing a minor-league deal with an invite to major-league camp this winter.
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Lewis had his first game action on Tuesday against big-league hitters since pitching in his last big-league game in July 2012. That was before he had surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon. As he was rehabbing last year in Frisco, he had a setback and ended up having hip resurfacing surgery on his chronically bad hip. Now, he says, he feels as good as ever. And on Tuesday in an intrasquad scrimmage, he showed it.
"That was like vintage Colby," pitching coach Mike Maddux told ESPN Dallas. "I can't come up with enough good adjectives to talk about him."
Perfect. Just what you wanted to hear.
Lewis threw just one inning, and yes it was just an intrasquad scrimmage, but it was a huge step for Lewis, who needed just 11 pitches to get out of the inning and saw his fastball velocity reach 89 mph, just a tick shy of pre-elbow injury in 2012.
"I expect myself to go out there and perform at a big league level," Lewis said. "I want to go out there and win a job. I don't want to go out there and be overly patient and get put on the back burner and not looked at for a spot in this rotation. I'll compete to win a job, plain and simple."
Matt Harrison having a productive year would be a relatively big surprise, but at this point, anything Lewis can give the Rangers would have to be considered a bonus. And maybe, just maybe, he's going to give them a whole lot more than "anything."