ARLINGTON (AP) — Texas Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis says he isn’t ready to get big league hitters out, and isn’t sure when he will be.
The 33-year-old, who is coming back from elbow surgery last July, wasn’t trying to sound pessimistic after a 47-pitch rehabilitation outing at Double-A Frisco on Monday. But he says his velocity has to be higher than the top speed of 87 mph against San Antonio.
Lewis breezed through the first two innings, but gave up four hits in the third, including a leadoff home run by San Antonio’s A.J. Kirby-Jones. He allowed two runs in 2 1-3 innings.
Lewis, who tore his right flexor tendon, still hopes to return before the All-Star break. It was his first outing since mild triceps tendinitis turned up after an appearance May 9 with Triple-A Round Rock.
“I definitely feel like I need to get my reps up,” said Lewis, who normally has a fastball around 90 mph. “I know I can locate, but I feel like my velocity is down and I definitely need to generate more power.”
Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski (strained oblique) was the designated hitter a day after starting at catcher for Frisco. He is expected to be back in the Texas lineup on Tuesday, when he’s eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list.
“Good couple of days,” said Pierzynski, who went 1 for 3 with a single. “It was good because I got to do everything yesterday — catch and throw, move around, hit. And then today to come back was the biggest test to make sure I could bounce back after yesterday, and everything felt great.”
The Rangers started Monday with the best record in baseball despite Lewis being one of three members of the rotation out with injuries. Lewis has been joined on the disabled list by left-hander Matt Harrison, the opening day starter, and right-hander Alexi Ogando.
Harrison is out until at least August after two surgeries for a herniated disk in his back. Ogando went on the DL last week with right biceps tendinitis but should be ready when he’s eligible to be activated May 31.
The Texas rotation is relying on a pair of young right-handers in Justin Grimm and Matt Tepesch, who are tied for the most wins among AL rookies with three apiece.
The Rangers are counting on Lewis to be healthy if they make a fourth straight trip to the playoffs. He has been their most reliable starter in the postseason the past three years.
“They’re definitely holding their own without me,” Lewis said. “I don’t feel like any pressure’s on me. All I’ve been trying to do is go out and get reps and try to get strong and when I get activated, I get activated.”
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