Right-hander Colby Lewis turned 35 on Saturday, a birthday he celebrated before the Texas Rangers’ game against Cleveland with a significant burrito, chips and guacamole.
He also took a stroll through his long list of medical troubles during his career, most recently a hip resurfacing last August that saved his career. He has also had surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon, a shoulder reconstruction and a second shoulder operation to clean up scar tissue.
But his remarkable medical history began in 1996, when as a 16-year-old he underwent Tommy John surgery to reconstruct his elbow. Lewis has been told that no pitcher as ever thrown post-Tommy John as long as he has.
At the time, he had just finished his junior season of high school. His profession was student, not baseball player.
“I didn’t have a career,” said Lewis, who recalls foolishly throwing eight innings less than a year after the surgery. “I wanted to play in college. After my first year of college, 18 or 20 months out, that’s when I felt amazing.”
His arm, and the surgically repaired versions of it, have taken him to the Rangers and two other organizations, Japan and back to the Rangers, and two trips to the World Series. After his last outing, two runs in seven innings Wednesday against New York, Lewis was convinced his arm has more left in it.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’ve talked to [a team doctor], and he thinks I’m going to get better as time goes on.”
Right-hander Yu Darvish is a fan of hot weather, which he isn’t going to get Sunday as he takes the mound. The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s during the series finale against Cleveland.
Darvish, though, will take as much heat as he can get. He claims that the warmer it is, the better he feels and the better the chances are that he will pitch well.
“It keeps my body loose, but there are some things I have to be careful with as well,” Darvish said. “If I take care of them, I think I should be fine.”
A look at his career splits, though, shows that April is his best month (10-2, 2.36 ERA) followed by June (8-5, 2.93) and September (4-3, 2.76). July is his worst (4-7, 4.62).
But the numbers show that he has terrible numbers at cool-weather parks in Oakland (0-3, 7.59 ERA) and Seattle (0-3, 7.71), and good numbers in warmer venues in Arlington (22-11, 3.02), Houston (3-0, 1.52) and Anaheim (5-2, 2.89).
Let’s go streaking
Shortstop Elvis Andrus saw his career-opening 39-game hitting streak against Cleveland come to an end earlier this season, but he entered Saturday with another streak against the Indians.
He had hit in 23 straight games at Progressive Field, the longest road hitting streak at one park in club history. His .402 average was the highest average by any player at Progressive Field.
Tied for second on the list? Michael Young, whose Progressive streak hit 20 games from 2004 to 2008.
Geovany Soto, on the disabled list with a groin injury, was to catch seven innings for the second consecutive night Saturday at Triple A Round Rock.
He will be asked to catch nine innings in back-to-back games before the Rangers consider activating him. Soto hopes to return Friday at Houston.