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Opening for Colby Lewis after Joe Saunders lands on DL

A spot has opened for Colby Lewis in the Texas Rangers’ rotation. Now, it’s just a matter of determining when he will make his first big-league start since July 2012.

Left-hander Joe Saunders was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a bruised left ankle, putting the Rangers in need of a starter at some point early in their upcoming 10-game homestand.

Yu Darvish will remain on schedule and pitch Friday, even though the Rangers have an off day Thursday. Lewis could be summoned from Triple A Round Rock on Saturday or Sunday, though the Rangers could keep their four current starters on schedule and wait on Lewis until Tuesday.

“The reports on Colby have been pretty positive,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “He definitely appears to be making strides, and there’s a good chance we go there. We have a little time to make a decision and the off day as well.”

Lewis has an out on his minor-league deal Thursday, but that hasn’t factored into the Rangers’ decision-making. They and Lewis agreed to one or two starts in the minors to continue making adjustments to the mechanical changes he has made after having his left hip resurfaced in August.

He threw 98 pitches and allowed four runs (two earned) in five innings Sunday in dicey weather conditions. Pitching coach Mike Maddux watched video of the outing and spot with Round Rock pitching coach Brad Holman.

“He said there are a couple things that need to be tightened up,” Maddux said. “But Colby is Colby, and bright lights will tighten him up.

“I think if Colby is healthy, he’s ready. My bet is on Colby.”

Saunders threw at Fenway Park and attempted to run, but the ankle that was struck Friday by an Evan Longoria liner didn’t respond.

“It hurt,” Saunders said. “It needs time to heal. There’s probably a lot of ice in my future.”