Lewis said doctors told him it could be nine to 12 months before he's 100 percent healthy and ready to pitch in the big leagues again.
"It's disappointing not only for me and my family but for my teammates, for the organization," said Lewis, who was placed on the disabled list before Monday's game with Boston. The club recalled 21-year-old Martin Perez to start in Lewis' place on Tuesday. "The biggest thing I want to do is go out and perform and be on that mound. It sucks. I don't know any other words to really say it."
Lewis said he knew there was a small tear in the tendon prior to his last start, July 18 against Oakland. But it was a matter of whether he could pitch through it. He said he felt great in his bullpen and long toss sessions and wanted to give it a try.
"Like anything else, with my hip, shoulder, I've been known to kind of push through things and get the job done," Lewis said. "We shot it to see if it felt better and it felt really good. He said it's kind of like a hamstring or a pulled anything. It's going to feel good for a while but then you stress it and it's going to start to tighten up.
"That's what did in the game versus Oakland. It felt good for three innings. Then it tightened up in the fourth and fifth inning. I didn't want to push through it. I didn't want it to be one of those things where one pitch and everything went popping. It sucks."
The news comes a little more than a week before the trade deadline. The Rangers have scouted some of the starting pitchers that could be on the market and this news could increase the club's need for another arm for the stretch run and into the postseason. Texas goes into Monday's game five games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was asked if this alters the club's strategy at the deadline.
"I think it's going to depend on the specifics of the situation," Daniels said. "We've been monitoring the market. We've had our guys out there looking at some different things. We've had conversations with clubs. I just can't handicap it right now. Our focus is still the same, which is to put the best club out there and give us a chance to win. But the deal's got to be right."
Lewis, 32, felt some discomfort in his forearm after taking the loss to the Colorado Rockies on June 23. He said then that he had that kind of pain while he was pitching in Japan, and after taking a few weeks off, it went away and he finished the season without an issue.
Lewis was placed on the disabled list prior to the All-Star break to give him some time to rest the arm. He returned on July 18 against the Oakland A's and pitched well, allowing one run on three hits in five innings. But the forearm tightness returned and Lewis then skipped a bullpen over the weekend before the club officially placed him on the DL again on Monday.
The veteran has been a workhorse for the club since signing a two-year deal with a club option (which the Rangers exercised prior to the 2012 season) before the 2010 season after resurrecting his career with a two-year stint in Japan. He pitched 201 innings in 2010 and 200 1/3 innings in 2011 and was the team's top postseason pitcher as the Rangers won back-to-back American League pennants.
Lewis is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in eight playoff starts (50 innings). He was the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS when the Rangers clinched the first trip to the World Series in franchise history with a victory over the New York Yankees. He also won the club's only World Series game in 2010. He was the starter in Game 6 of the World Series in St. Louis last year, which the Rangers lost in extra innings after being one strike away from the title twice.
"The tough part is you feel for Colby," Daniels said. "This guy is everything you want. He's a competitor, he's been an absolute warrior for us, pitched in the biggest games, pitched a ton of innings, stepped up time after time. He was pitching a lot of times out there with issues and aches that he didn't even tell us about. On the rare occasion he did, it was never an excuse for him to go out here. He's been a leader by example and the way he goes about his business with no excuses."