Lewis expected to start Saturday vs. Astros

Lewis expected to start Saturday vs. Astros

BOSTON -- The Rangers are expected to call up pitcher Colby Lewis and have him return to their rotation on Saturday against the Astros. The Rangers haven't made an official announcement, but it's likely that Lewis will make his first start since July 18, 2012.

Lewis pitched five innings for Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits, three walks and two strikeouts. He threw 92 pitches. The plan is for Lewis to throw a bullpen session with Round Rock on Wednesday. If that goes well, Lewis would be on track to pitch for the Rangers on Saturday.

Lewis could elect for free agency if the Rangers don't add him to the active roster by Thursday, but that appears to no longer be a concern.

"Our intention is to bring him to Texas," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We'll see how that goes. Let him finish his work and all of his recovery, but our intention is to bring him to Texas. That's what we're waiting on."

Lewis will replace Joe Saunders in the rotation. Saunders is on the disabled list with a bruised left foot after getting hit by a line drive in last Friday's start against the Rays. Saunders is able to throw, but the bruised foot makes it difficult for him to field his position.

"Right now, it's about the agility aspect," Saunders said. "I couldn't field a bunt. The arm is not the problem. I can push off the mound and even throw in the bullpen. But agility is important. If you can't run or plant side to side, you can't pitch. But every day, it's getting better."

Lewis was 32-29 with a 3.93 ERA in 80 starts for the Rangers from 2010-12 and 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in eight postseason starts. But he was shut down with elbow trouble midway through the 2012 season and underwent surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon on Aug. 2 of that year.

Lewis made seven starts last season in the Minor Leagues on medical rehabilitation assignment, but he was still being bothered by physical issues. The Rangers finally shut him down and he underwent hip replacement surgery on Aug. 22. Lewis had been bothered by a chronic right hip for several years and finally had the issue addressed.

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.