Colby Lewis pitched five innings in a Sunday start for Triple-A Round Rock, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits. He had three walks, two strikeouts and a hit batter and threw 98 pitches (62 of them strikes).
Lewis, 34, has an out in his contract that allows him to get his release April 10 if he's not added to the big league roster. The Rangers are off that day. But they could certainly agree to bring Lewis up and start him this coming weekend at home against the Astros, likely replacing Joe Saunders in the rotation. And with Saunders nursing a sore ankle after it was hit by a hard-hit ball from Evan Longoria on Friday night in Tampa, perhaps the Rangers would have the option of putting Saunders on the disabled list and letting him get a rehab start or two in the minors before returning to the club.
But there are other possibilities and that could hinge on how Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross do at Fenway Park this week and whether the team feels moving one of them back to the bullpen (I would think Scheppers would go back ahead of Ross with Alexi Ogando's struggles) would make more sense than simply moving Saunders out.
Lewis didn't dominate in either of his last two starts, though he got his arm strength up and hasn't had any physical issues with the hip this spring. The results weren't stellar, but does that mean the club tries to see if Lewis is willing to pitch one more time in the minors and then join the club instead of taking the opt-out? We'll see.
But one thing I can't see happening is letting Lewis leave. If he's intent on joining the big club now, let him take Saunders' place in the rotation for now and then figure out the options from there. Stay tuned. The club and Lewis don't have to make that call for a few days.