Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Texas Rangers [Print without images]

Friday, March 11, 2011
Colby Lewis' curve, Ian Kinsler's bat

By Richard Durrett

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Colby Lewis' line might not have seemed all that great: 4 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts.

But for a guy like Lewis who has a guaranteed rotation spot, spring training isn't about statistics. It's about feel and getting ready for the season. And Lewis felt very good on Friday.

"I'm actually real excited about today," Lewis said. "Everything was doing what it was supposed to be doing today. Curve ball was sharp, getting ahead of guys better and I felt like everything was in sync pretty well."

Lewis said everything is progressing nicely toward the regular season. He got into a little trouble, but one Reds rally started thanks in large part to a great bunt by Fred Lewis that rolled down the line. Lewis said he gave up a hit inthe second inning with two outs on a slider that he said he was trying to throw for a strike and the batter was swinging away.

Friday was the first time Lewis has pitched four innings this spring as he builds up his arm strength.

Other notes:

* Ian Kinsler, who was the DH as the leadoff hitter Friday, was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. He had a home run, his fifth in a Cactus League game. He leads the majors in home runs this spring. Kinsler is hitting .393 and has nine RBIs. He has four strikeouts and three walks. (Interestingly, he had one more strikeout than walk in the 2010 regular season). Kinsler said he's been working on flattening his swing to avoid as many popups and to drive the ball better. That showed in his double in the first and in the home run.

"He's seeing the ball well and when pitchers are making mistakes, he's not missing," Washington said. "When you're locked in, that's what happens. He's working at it. He deserves to see the ball well because he's working hard to see it well."

* It was a battle of MVPs out there with Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto playing. Votto was 2-for-3 with an RBI. He had a single in the first to drive in the Reds' first run. Hamilton was 1-for-3 with a single on the first pitch he saw Friday that scored Kinsler (who had doubled).

* Michael Kirkman gave up one run on two hits and had his stuff working to the tune of six strikeouts and no walks in four innings. Again, the candidates for that fifth spot sure are making this an interesting competition. None of them are backing down.

"He had his fastball on both sides of the plate and that's what you have to do," manager Ron Washington said.

More on Kirkman tomorrow morning on the blog.

* C Yorvit Torrealba's spring training average is now .400 after going 1-for-2 with a run scored and a double.

* 3B Mike Olt had a homer in the bottom of the ninth that ended up causing the 5-5 tie (they didn't play after nine innings).

* 1B Mitch Moreland had a double, his fifth extra-base hit of the spring.

* OF Craig Gentry showed good hustle when he hit a bloop down the first base line and never stopped, diving into second with a double.