SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Colby Lewis doesn't have his pitch count up as high as the Rangers want, but he is throwing well. One scout who watched him throw on Thursday in a Minor League game said Lewis' stuff is back and he's pitching like he was two to three years ago.
Lewis allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings against Triple-A Omaha and finished with 57 pitches.
"I got what I needed," Lewis said. "I got up and down, got my pitch count up and got some quick outs. I feel the ball is coming out of my hand sharp and breaking. I'm throwing all my pitches for strikes. That's what I need to do to pitch in the big leagues."
Lewis will get one more start on Tuesday, either in a Minor League game or against the Reds in Goodyear. At some point, the Rangers have to make a decision. Lewis is in camp on a Minor League contract and has the right to take his free agency if he is not on the Opening Day roster.
The Rangers want Lewis to be able to throw 100 pitches in a game if he is going to be in the rotation. Lewis is hoping to throw 75 on Tuesday. If he's on the Opening Day roster, Lewis could throw in a simulated game on the Sunday before the season starts and get his pitch count up to 90-100. That would put him in position to start the fifth game of the season, on April 5 against the Rays.
The other option would be to have Lewis pitch in one Minor League game and not be added to the Major League roster until April 9. The Rangers have an off-day on April 3 after they open the season with a three-game series with the Phillies. That means they won't need a fifth starter until April 9 against the Red Sox. If the Rangers wait until then to add Lewis, it would allow them to carry an extra player or reliever for the first eight games.
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.Less