By Calvin Watkins ESPNDallas.com
The pitching rotation for the Texas Rangers in 2015 is Yu Darvish and the return of Derek Holland.
There are too many ifs after that.
What about this young pitcher?
What if this pitcher comes back from injury?
Who’s out there in free agency?
And there’s Colby Lewis.
He turned 35 over the weekend and spent the day in Cleveland most likely celebrating quietly and thinking about his future.
The next two months of the season are auditions for Lewis and he takes the stage Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox.
His future was in doubt last year as he recovered from right hip resurfacing surgery and the removal of bone spurs in his right elbow.
There were fears he would not return.
“I lay in bed and (my) wife and I talk about the future and see how things go,” said Lewis, who becomes a free agent when the season ends. “I’m a day-to-day guy. We’ll see how the season winds up and we’ll see what the future brings. I’m a Ranger at heart. I want to be here. I really, really feel we can work something out. I want to come back and hopefully we can.”
Lewis signed a minor league deal this past spring and has proven a savior in some ways for this rotation. Not because Lewis is on pace to win 20 games, but he’s at least given manager Ron Washington someone to depend on every five days.
That’s not saying much for a baseball team on pace to lose 100 games. Washington has young kids dealing with consistency issues from the mental portion of the game to mechanical issues.
Lewis has been through all this.
The old Colby Lewis went 14-10 in 2011 and beat the New York Yankees twice in the 2010 ALCS.
He was the 2012 opening day starter.
Lewis was the veteran you could rely on.
Then his health betrayed him.
It does to everybody at some point in their lives.
The new Colby Lewis has what he calls a bionic hip and an elbow getting stronger.
Lewis is 7-8 with a 5.98 ERA, and over his last three starts, he has lowered his ERA from 6.54 to what it is currently.
He’s pitched into the seventh inning twice and allowed just seven runs in 18 1/3 innings.
Darvish is expected to end losing streaks and begin them. Lewis, at least this version of him, is expected to extend win streaks and keep his club in the game.
It’s been a remarkable surge from Lewis of late.
In early May, Lewis’ ERA was 6.12 and by the end of the first half his ERA was 6.54 and he was coming off a game where he allowed a franchise-record 13 runs to the Los Angeles Angels.
“I’ve talked to (the doctor) and doc thinks I can pitch,” Lewis said. “I’m going to pitch better as time rolls out. Last offseason was kinda the rehab offseason. I didn’t have a chance to focus on getting ready for spring, just focus on rehabbing the hip and try and get ready. For this offseason, it will be strictly a normal offseason and get ready for next season. I’m looking forward to that.”
His audition continues Tuesday night.