Right hip surgery to end season for Lewis
Right-hander hopes to return to Rangers healthy in 2014
ANAHEIM -- Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis will undergo season-ending surgery to remove a bone spur in his right hip. He will need 6-8 weeks of recovery time before he can start doing normal activities again.
Lewis will be a free agent after this season. He is hoping to pitch again in the Major Leagues, and he hopes it will be for the Rangers. Lewis, who had surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow last July 27, said his arm is healthy, but the chronic condition in his hip has not allowed him to be 100 percent effective on the mound.
"The repair feels great," Lewis said. "Me going out there, my fastball has inconsistencies. My consistency to repeat my delivery is not there. It's put myself in a situation where I haven't given my arm a chance to get right either.
"I know going out there, my arm feels great out there at times, and if my mechanics aren't perfect because of the hip, it gets sore at certain times. There are just inconsistencies that I was able to get through before, but now I'm just not able to get through it."
Lewis, who has been with the Rangers for the past four years, has been bothered by the hip for several seasons.
"It's something that I just deal with," Lewis said. "I don't try to make it an issue. I just try to mask the pain as much as I can and for as long as I can, and it just comes to the point that I feel like it's affecting my mechanics and not allowing me to compete at the big league level. If I'm not able to do that, then I definitely feel like it's time to try to get it cleaned up and give myself the opportunity to where I can get outs at the big league level."
The Rangers signed Lewis as a free agent out of Japan on Jan. 19, 2010, and he is 32-29 with a 3.93 ERA in 80 starts since then. He has not pitched in the Major Leagues since June 2012. He made seven starts in the Minor Leagues this season trying to come back from flexor tendon surgery, but he was twice called back from medical rehabilitation assignment because of soreness around his elbow.
"As much as we would love to have him back on the mound for us, we agree that he has to do what's best for his long-term health," general manager Jon Daniels said. "The guy has unbelievable pain tolerance and work ethic, and he's pushed through it as long as he could. We felt he was putting his arm at risk if he pushed any further. We certainly respect his decision."
Lewis was outstanding for the Rangers in the playoffs during their two straight trips to the World Series in 2010-11. He made eight starts and was 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in the postseason.
The Rangers have a high regard for Lewis, and there is a strong possibility the club will try to re-sign him as a free agent this offseason. They did so last September, though they knew Lewis would not be ready to pitch in the Major Leagues until at least June 1.
"The door is [definitely] open," Daniels said. "We think the world of this guy."
"I've got to get it done and give myself another shot of pitching in the big leagues," Lewis said. "I'd love to pitch for the Rangers again. This is my second home."
The Rangers are still hoping to get Matt Harrison back before the season. Harrison, who had two surgeries in April and May to repair a herniated disk in his lower back, is scheduled to make his third start on medical rehabilitation assignment this Friday for Round Rock. Harrison will likely throw 60-70 pitches and will probably need two more starts after that before he is ready for the Major Leagues.
Neftali Feliz will pitch for Round Rock on Thursday, but he is being brought back as a reliever after undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery a year ago.
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.