Colby Lewis threw 98 pitches over 5 innings today for AAA Round Rock, in what could have been his final minor league performance before he returns to the big leagues.
Lewis allowed 4 runs -- 2 earned, 2 unearned -- on 4 hits, 3 walks, and an HBP while striking out 2. 62 of the 98 pitches he threw were strikes.
Scott Lucas was at the game and tweeted some updates, with this being his take on Lewis's 2-run first:
Colby Lewis 1st: FB 86-88, SL 81, CB 73-75, CH 81-84, maybe a cutter. 2 runs on cheap bloop double, bad C error, SB, groundout.— Scott Lucas (@scottrlucas) April 6, 2014
With the April 10 opt-out date looming, the Rangers have a decision to make. They've praised Lewis's work ethic and what he's done to return from hip surgery, but I wouldn't be surprised if they'd like to see him continue to work on his command in the minors. If the choice is bring him up later this week, or have him elect free agency, I think they'll almost certainly bring him up, and at this point, the expectation seems to be that he'll be joining the rotation and starting on April 11 or April 12.
The question that remains is, what does Lewis have left at this point. I'm sure the Rangers would be thrilled with him being able to be a decent #4 or #5 starter, and could live with him being this year's Ross Wolf, a swingman who can be used as a long reliever or in the rotation as needed. The Joe Saunders injury gives the Rangers the ability to put Saunders on the d.l. and send him to AAA on a rehab assignment to work on his dead arm or whatever his issues have been that have resulted in him being shelled in his last three appearances, while giving Lewis a look at the major league level and determining what he might be able to offer them this year.
Or it could be they'll leave Saunders in the rotation, and use the return of Lewis to put Tanner Scheppers or Robbie Ross back in the pen. The situation is, as Ron Washington said right before the season started, "fluid."