Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers have reached agreement on a one-year contract for 2016 that will pay the veteran right-hander $6 million if he and his repaired right knee can pass a physical exam.
The sides came together late Thursday, according to two sources, to extend a relationship between player and team that was first hatched in the 1999 draft but was rekindled in 2010 as Lewis was lured back from Japan.
There is no timetable for Lewis to take the physical, though it might be until after the holidays before he flies to Arlington from his home in Bakersfield, Calif. The deal, the source said, might not become official until early next month.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels declined to comment about the deal.
3 200-inning seasons for Colby Lewis since 2010 despite missing half of the 2012 season and all of 2013 because of injuries
His availability for the start of the 2016 season was the Rangers’ primary concern when negotiating with Lewis’ agent, Alan Nero, but Lewis said earlier this month that he expects to be 100 percent on the first day of spring training.
The reunion between the Rangers and Lewis, who made $4 million in 2015, seemed likely from the opening of free agency as neither the club nor the 36-year-old wanted to part ways.
Lewis became the club’s best postseason pitcher in his first two seasons back from Japan, helping to lead the Rangers to the World Series in both years, before injuries derailed him in 2012 and 2013.
But he returned in 2014 on a minor-league deal and as a trailblazer after a hip resurfacing procedure to lead the Rangers in wins, starts and innings. He duplicated the feat in 2015 with career-highs in each category to help lift the Rangers to the division title.
Colby Lewis is the Rangers’ all-time franchise leader in postseason wins (4) and ERA (2.38). He went 4-1 over eight playoff starts in the 2010 and 2011.
Lewis won 17 games over 33 starts and 204 2/3 innings, and did so while pitching most of the season with torn meniscus in his right knee. He underwent surgery in October and was in Texas on Dec. 2 for a checkup with team physician Dr. Keith Meister.
Lewis said that he has been riding a stationary bicycle and doing strengthening exercises without any problems, which gives him the confidence that he will be ready to go when pitchers and catchers have their first spring workout Feb. 19 in Surprise, Ariz.
If he passes the physical, Lewis would rejoin a rotation that includes left-handers Cole Hamels, Derek Holland and Martin Perez. Righty Yu Darvish is expected to return from Tommy John surgery in mid-May, and his spot is likely to be kept warm early in the season by either Chi Chi Gonzalez or Nick Martinez.