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Lewis out for season with tear in elbow tendon

Lewis out for season with tear in elbow tendon

Lewis out for season with tear in elbow tendon
ARLINGTON -- Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis will miss the remainder of the season because he needs surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.

The team's Opening Day starter, Lewis landed on the 15-day disabled list Monday for a second time this season with right forearm tendinitis before an MRI revealed the tear. Lewis gave up one run on three hits in a loss to the A's on Wednesday in his return from the DL, earning a no-decision. Lewis said he experienced some tightness in his forearm in the days following that start.

"It's devastating," Lewis said. "I wanted to be out there for my teammates and the organization. It couldn't happen at a worse time with us playing really well and getting prepared for the postseason. Of course, with me being a free agent at the end of the year, it's one of those things where it's a speed bump in my career. I've never been one of those guys where I can have a good three months and get paid a lot of money. I've always had to work for it."

In 16 starts this year, Lewis went 6-6 with a 3.43 ERA, striking out 93 and walking 14 in 105 innings, giving him the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Majors (6.64). The Rangers, who have already scouted the Phillies' Cole Hamels and the Brewers' Zack Greinke, could increase their efforts to acquire a starting pitcher by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Marlins' Josh Johnson could also be a target.

"It's going to depend on the specifics of the situation," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We've been looking at some different things. We've had conversations with clubs. Our focus is still the same -- to have the best club out there that gives us a chance to win. But the deal's got to be right."

The Rangers are now without arguably their best postseason pitcher. In eight playoff starts over the last two years, Lewis went 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA, striking out 44 and walking 22 in 50 innings. Lewis, who spent two seasons in Japan before being picked up by the Rangers, has started a game in the World Series each of the last two years, going 1-0 with a 2.76 ERA in those two Fall Classic outings.

"He reinvented himself," Daniels said. "That's what stood out to our guys. He came up with a cutter/slider, he really defined his delivery, and became a big time strike-thrower. ... It's always been about this guy's makeup. You just wish you could bottle it and give it to some of the younger guys."

Team doctor Keith Meister told Lewis that he will likely be out for nine to 12 months. Lewis said that he knew there was a slight tear in his elbow while he was on the disabled list earlier this year, but that his arm felt good during his preparations for his start against the A's last week. During that game, however, was when Lewis began to feel the tightness in his forearm coming back.

"Like anything else, with my hip, shoulder, I've been known to kind of push through things and get the job done," Lewis said. "In the third inning [Wednesday], it started to get progressively tighter and tighter. I knew I wasn't going to be able to go deep into ballgames and be the guy that the team needed me to be."

Three other Rangers pitchers are currently on the disabled list -- Mark Lowe (strained intercostal muscle), Koji Uehara (strained lat) and Neftali Feliz (elbow inflammation). Another, Roy Oswalt, was scratched from his Monday start with back stiffness but expects that to be the only start he misses. Lowe threw off a mound in Anaheim on Sunday for the first time since sustaining his injury, while Uehara had a setback after throwing a scoreless inning in a rehab outing with Triple-A Round Rock on July 14.

Feliz has made two rehab starts with Round Rock since being placed on the DL on May 21, giving up five runs, one of them earned, in 2 2/3 innings between those outings. He is set to make his next rehab appearance for the Express on Tuesday. Daniels said Monday that he expects Feliz to make at least two more rehab starts before returning to the Rangers.

Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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