Low pitch total may leave Lewis out of rotation

Texas wants him to throw 100 pitches in a game, but he totaled 57 in last start

Low pitch total may leave Lewis out of rotation

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers want Colby Lewis to be able to throw 100 pitches in a game before he joins the rotation.

That appears unlikely to happen before the end of Spring Training. Lewis threw just 57 in a Minor League game Thursday, allowing one run in 4 2/3 innings against Triple-A Omaha. Lewis will have just one more outing in Arizona and most likely won't be able to throw more than 75 pitches. That makes it tough for Texas to go with Lewis over some of the other rotation candidates who have higher pitch counts at this point.

"I'm still here," Lewis said. "I want to be able to make the club out of camp. If I'm able to throw all my pitches for strikes, I can definitely be competitive in the big leagues."

The Rangers do have some flexibility. Because of an off-day April 3, the club won't need a fifth starter until April 8, the eighth game of the season. The Rangers could have Lewis pitch in a Minor League game before they bring him back to the big leagues for the first time since 2012.

"It's up to them," Lewis said. "We've got a week left, and they're going to make a decision and we'll go from there."

Lewis is in camp on a Minor League contract and hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since July 18, 2012. He underwent flexor tendon surgery in 2012 and hip replacement surgery last August. He'll get one more outing on Tuesday before the Rangers have to make a decision if he is ready to be in the Opening Day rotation.

Left-handed reliever Pedro Figueroa followed Lewis to the mound and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and one walk while throwing 30 pitches. Figueroa remains a candidate for the bullpen if the Rangers decide to move Robbie Ross into the rotation.

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.