Lewis feels stronger in latest rehab outing
Pitcher among several Rangers making progress toward returns
FRISCO -- Colby Lewis could not get through the third inning in his rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco on Wednesday at Dr Pepper Ballpark, but he felt he rebounded well in his first rehab start in nearly two months while recovering from right elbow surgery.
His outing ended when he allowed a two-run homer to the 14th batter he faced on an 82-mph changeup. Lewis allowed four runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings with a walk and a strikeout. He threw 45 pitches, 27 for strikes, in his fourth rehab start this season. He has not had a rehab start since May 25 with Triple-A Round Rock.
"I was hoping it would feel a lot better, and it definitely does," Lewis said. "It's just a case of I need to go out and continue to get reps and be able to repeat my delivery and repeating what I'm best at -- pounding the ball down in the strike zone on both sides of the plate -- I feel like I'll get that, I'll be where I need to be."
Lewis threw 20 pitches in the first inning facing six batters. He started the outing with a six-pitch walk and let two of the next three batters on with a single and double. Lewis allowed two runs in the first, throwing mostly fastballs at about 87 mph.
He settled down in the second with a six-pitch inning, retiring Double-A San Antonio in order. Lewis allowed a one-out single in the third during his second time through the order. He struck out the next batter looking on an 85-mph fastball before allowing the home run.
"It was a decent outing," Lewis said, "3-2 changeup [on the home run]. I threw some good changes. Overall, I need to get some sharpness back, be able to locate a little bit better. That's going to come with a couple of more starts, and I'll be ready to go."
Lewis had just one swing and miss in the outing. His velocity dipped as the outing progressed, but Lewis felt he still had some arm strength in the third. He said it was easier to get in the inning. Overall, Lewis felt he had more whip than he did May 20 in his last rehab start with Frisco.
"The ball is coming out of my hand a little easier," Lewis said. "It was a lot of effort trying to get the ball to the plate the last time I was here. Hopefully it gets easier each time I go out.
"The first time I tried to do this, it didn't feel as good as it did this time. Chalk it up as trying to get your feet wet and being able to locate pitches. I felt you locate one, and the next time you try to locate it, it's not there. It's just being able to repeat, be able to repeat your delivery and get some quick outs."
Lewis now has a 10.80 ERA in two starts with Frisco in five innings. He expects to work out with the club as Frisco hits the road for the next four days. Lewis thinks his next rehab start will be Monday when the RoughRiders return home, but he is unsure when he will return with the Rangers.
"I want to get back to the form I've been in the last three years," Lewis said.
Also rehabbing with Round Rock is Alexi Ogando, on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation, who was scheduled to start Thursday with a 95-pitch limit in his third rehab outing. Ogando could be activated Tuesday to face the Yankees.
Yu Darvish will throw his bullpen Friday, and he is scheduled to be activated from the 15-day DL on Monday against the Yankees after experiencing a right shoulder strain. The Rangers will open the second half with Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Ross Wolf against the Orioles.
The Rangers remain persistent in their search outside the organization for pitching. Matt Garza has been their main target, and the club has had ongoing discussions with the Cubs. Lewis' rehab start could influence their pursuit of the right-hander.
As for position players, Craig Gentry and Jeff Baker played in both games of Frisco's doubleheader as a part of their rehab assignments. Gentry went 3-for-8 with a double and three strikeouts. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 21 with a non-displaced fracture of his left hand. He is 3-for-13 in four rehab games with a walk and a RBI.
Baker went 2-for-8 in the doubleheader with a strikeout. He is 2-for-11 with two strikeouts in three games with Frisco. The right-handed hitter was placed on the disabled list June 18 after spraining his right thumb.
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.