Colby Lewis’ joke response to how he felt a day before making his first start of the season, like most jokes, included some truth.
Lewis, who will turn 37 on August 2, begins his 11th big league season and ninth with the Rangers in the series finale against the Mariners at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday.
I don’t think [your first start] gets old by any means. I’m excited to get the first one out of the way and get rolling.
Rangers RHP Colby Lewis
“Old,” Lewis said with a smile when asked he felt. Truthfully, Lewis feels great and looks better physically than he has in several years, especially since missing most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons because of injuries.
A dedicated off-season biking program slimmed him down by 35 pounds. The right-hander is coming off his best season with the Rangers in which he led the club in wins (17), innings (204 2/3 ) and tied for the team lead with 33 starts. He’s been a reliable horse for the past two seasons while more celebrated pitchers have struggled with injuries.
204Club-high innings pitched for Colby Lewis in 2015, who also led with 17 wins and tied for the lead with 33 starts.
“The consistency of it all,” manager Jeff Banister said. “He might have been the most consistent guy we had all year long.”
He tied a career high with 20 quality starts and has a team-high 28 combined the past two seasons. He pitched the final four months of the season with a torn meniscus in his right knee, which required surgery in October. The Rangers showed their appreciation by signing him to a one-year, $6 million deal in January.
“I feel like my body is good,” Lewis said. “I don’t think [your first start] gets old by any means. I’m excited to get the first one out of the way and get rolling.”
Banister said the primary reason Lewis is pitching third in the rotation was to split up the string of left-handers between Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and Derek Holland. Lewis has struggled against the Angels. In 2015, he allowed 25 runs on 37 hits over 25 2/3 innings against them.
“I think you honor and look at numbers but that wasn’t the No. 1 reason why,” Banister said. “We wanted to split those left-handers up.”
Opening Day digits
The four hits Rangers pitchers allowed in Monday’s opener were the fewest on Opening Day since April 9, 1990, against the Blue Jays. Cole Hamels, who allowed two runs on four hits over seven innings, threw the first quality start for the Rangers on Opening Day since Lewis in 2012. Lewis allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings to earn the win against the White Sox.
▪ Prince Fielder received his American League Comeback Player of the Year Award before Tuesday’s game. Players association representative Derek Holland presented him the trophy.
▪ Right-hander Yu Darvish threw a 50-pitch bullpen Tuesday afternoon. He’s expected to throw against hitters for the first time next week.
▪ Left-hander Sam Freeman, who was designed for assignment on March 29, was traded to the Brewers for cash considerations.