Lack of velocity now biggest pain for Rangers’ Colby Lewis

Posted Monday, May. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Colby Lewis seemed to be feeling as low around lunchtime Monday as his velocity readings on the Dr Pepper Ballpark scoreboard.

The right-hander made his second start on the comeback trail from a torn flexor tendon in July, allowing two runs on four hits in 21/3 innings for Double A Frisco.

His elbow and the triceps tendinitis that popped up after his May 9 start weren’t issues, but his lack of velocity left him to admit that he isn’t ready to face major league hitters.

Lewis’ fastball sat in the mid-80s against the San Antonio Missions. He wants to be 88-91 mph before taking on the Oakland A’s, the New York Yankees or any other big-league team.

That didn’t appear to be imminent Monday.

“Just go out there, try to get reps, try to get to where you know you can get a big-league hitter out. Right now, in my mind, I don’t feel like I can do that,” Lewis said.

“I definitely need more reps. Eight-five to 86 isn’t going to cut it, not for me anyway. Hopefully, the next start I can generate some more arm strength and get my velocity back where I wanted it to be.”

Asked if he was discouraged, he said he was. His time frame for returning went from two more rehab starts to hoping to be back before the All-Star break.

It’s likely to be somewhere in between. Lewis said his arm is starting to come around but needs more strength, and the outing Monday was better than his initial outing nearly two weeks ago with Triple A Round Rock.

He threw 47 pitches Monday, 33 strikes, and a bunch of fastballs to keep building arm strength.

“I’ve just got to go out there and continue getting stronger,” he said.

Lewis retired the first six he faced before surrendering a solo homer to open the third. He retired the second hitter, but was removed after allowing a double and two singles to three straight San Antonio hitters.

A trainer visited Lewis in the third inning, but only to get a gauge on how he was feeling. Physically, he said, he felt like any other pitcher who is on a rehab assignment.

“I feel like I’m on a roller coaster sometimes; it feels good one day and feels bad the next,” said Lewis, who should start again this weekend. “Maybe that’s just age in this game.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington has said that Lewis will join the rotation as soon as he is ready.

Justin Grimm and Josh Lindblom have replaced Matt Harrison (back surgery) and Alexi Ogando (biceps tendinitis), members of the Opening Day rotation who are on the DL. Ogando is expected to be out only 15 days while Harrison won’t be ready until August.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, though, will be ready Tuesday after two days in Frisco. He played five innings at catcher Sunday and was the designated hitter Monday, going 1 for 3 with an infield hit.

But he didn’t have any pain in the area of the strained right oblique that put him on the disabled list May 8.

“I got to do everything yesterday — catch, throw and move around, hit — and today to come back was the biggest test to make sure I could bounce back,” Pierzynski said. “Everything felt great.”

Lewis said that he felt fine, too. He’s just isn’t ready to get out big-league hitters.

“Maybe it takes me a little longer to fully get back and be able to throw six, seven, eight or nine innings,” he said. “When I feel good and feel I am able to get big-league hitters out, I’ll tell them I’m ready.”

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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