Lewis to work in Minor Leagues

PHOENIX -- Colby Lewis and Yu Darvish are stepping aside so Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers can continue their pursuit of a spot in the starting rotation.

Lewis will make his next start in a Minor League game on Thursday and Darvish will do the same on Friday. That will allow Ross to start on Thursday against the Reds and Scheppers to start on Friday against the Brewers.

Both Ross and Scheppers have been impressive in their bid to win a spot in the rotation. Ross has a 2.08 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP this spring while Scheppers has a 3.12 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Ross has the lowest ERA of any candidate competing for a spot in the rotation while Scheppers has the second lowest and the second lowest WHIP.

Joe Saunders has a 6.43 ERA and has allowed ten hits and a walk in seven innings. But he allowed two runs over four innings against the Royals on Monday night and is the most experienced starter in camp.

Tommy Hanson has pitched well according to the numbers with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. But his velocity and overall stuff still aren't back to where it was with the Braves in 2009-11. Both Saunders and Hanson should pitch on Saturday either against the Royals in Surprise or a Minor League game.

Lewis is scheduled to throw 80 pitches over five innings in a Minor League game. The Rangers want to get his pitch count up and see if he is ready to be an option at the Major League level. With less than two weeks before Opening Day, the Rangers still aren't sure if Lewis is all the way back after missing 11/2 years because of flexor tendon and hip replacement surgery. Significant progress has been made but not enough.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.