Lewis among several Rangers to enter free agency

Posted Monday, Sep. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Rangers’ all-time leader in postseason victories took the mound on Monday … to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Colby Lewis, out all season with injuries, said he was honored to be asked to be at the center of baseball tradition before the most recent big game for the Rangers.

Lewis just hopes it’s not his last appearance on the mound for Texas.

The right-hander is one of a number of Rangers who move into the great unknowns of free agency.

“I had a great time here in Texas and if the opportunity is given I’d love to come back,” said A.J. Pierzynski, “but it’s not my decision.”

Matt Garza, a July acquisition and the likely starter in the AL wild-card game had the Rangers advanced, will also become a free agent, as will David Murphy, who spent his last six seasons in Arlington.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever experienced free agency so I have absolutely no idea what to expect,” Murphy said. “I need to go for the best opportunity. It’d be awesome if it was here.”

Said Garza: “I like where I’m at. This isn’t a great moment, but it’s been fun. I hope they consider bringing me back.”

Lewis’ situation is a little more complicated. The 34-year-old right-hander missed all of this season first recovering from elbow surgery and then surgery to essentially replace his hip in July.

Lewis, who propelled the Rangers to the franchise’s first World Series appearance with two victories and a 1.98 ERA in two starts in the AL Championship Series against the Yankees in 2010, will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Since surgery, Lewis said he’s “getting stronger every day, that’s for sure.”

Lewis is planning to pitch in 2014 and hopes to return to the Rangers for a fifth season since re-signing with the club in 2010 after a two-year stint in Japan.

“I’ve always said this is where I want to be,” Lewis said.

Andrus to rest

Though it wasn’t his preference, Elvis Andrus said he he’ll take a much-needed vacation.

Game No. 163 was merely the continuation of Andrus’ annual baseball journey, which includes winter league in every off-season and this year the World Baseball Classic. He competed for his native Venezuela.

“I do need some time off,” said Andrus, who added that he plans to again play winter ball. “My body needs it; mentally, my head needs it.”

Balls, strikes, balderdash

Forgotten over the course of time was a disputed called third strike on Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist in April that sealed Joe Nathan’s 300th save in Arlington.

That game could have been the difference in preventing the tie-breaking game on Monday.

The called strike on a 3-2 count was several inches off the plate and at Zobrist’s shoes. Umpire Marty Foster admitted later that he missed the call.

It’s hard to assume that Tampa Bay would have come back to win, but a walk would have put runners on first and second with Evan Longoria at the plate in a one-run game.

“Everybody has lost games they should have won and won games they probably should have lost all year long,” said a more forgiving Tampa manager Joe Maddon, who engaged in a heated argument with Foster and took to Twitter with hot opinions afterward.

“I guess our destiny was to win 91 games and theirs was too. You can slice and dice it so many different ways.”

Briefly

• Rangers right fielder Alex Rios was selected AL co-player of the week for the seven-day period ending Sunday after hitting .346 with eight RBIs during the Rangers’ stretch of seven consecutive victories. “I’m just thinking about winning games,” Rios said. “I guess when all this is over and I sit down and look back, that’s when I’ll see how good it was or whatever.” Tampa Bay’s James Loney shared the distinction with Rios.

• The Rangers entered Monday’s game with three of the AL’s top seven in relief ERA. Neal Cotts (1.13) was second, followed by Joe Nathan (1.39) fourth and Tanner Scheppers (1.90) seventh.

• Monday’s game pit major league baseball’s only two managers who have won 90 or more games the past four seasons. “I don’t go head-to-head against Maddon,” Ron Washington said. “If my players go out and perform better than his players, then we win.”

Staff writer Drew Davison contributed to this report.

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