SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Colby Lewis may have secured a spot in the Texas Rangers' rotation. You wouldn't know it by the way he is approaching his spring starts.
"I don't want to go out and get knocked around and give them second guesses about me," said Lewis, who threw five solid innings in the Rangers' 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.Lewis allowed two runs and five hits with a walk and six strikeouts in his fourth appearance of the spring. He also became the first Texas pitcher to throw five full innings. He gave up Andre Ethier's RBI triple to the wall in left-center in the first inning.The performance was much improved on his last outing when he surrendered six runs and six hits with a walk and four strikeouts March 14 against Arizona."After that first inning he settled in there and pitcher pretty well," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "His curveball had some bite to it."Lewis, originally drafted by the Rangers in 1999, signed with the club in the offseason after a two-season stint in Japan. What the right-hander is facing now, he said, is quite different than what opposed him across the Pacific."Here you have five or six guys who can go deep," Lewis said. "Over there, there might be three or four. That's why you need to be able to command your pitches a little more here."Against the Dodgers, Lewis faced a lineup stacked with left-handers hitting first through fifth. In 2007, Lewis' last season in the majors with Oakland, lefties hit .386 against him."There were a lot of things I didn't do well in the big leagues the last time I was here," Lewis said. "I feel I'm better at locating my fastball and commanding my other pitches now. Lefty, righty, I still need to get them out."Jason Repko homered in the fifth off Lewis.Matt Brown's fifth-inning home run off Ramon Ortiz gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead. But Lucas May had an RBI double, and Xavier Paul and Ethier hit run-scoring singles in Los Angeles' three-run seventh inning to take a 5-2 lead.David Murphy homered in the first and tripled in the fourth en route to a 2 for 4 afternoon.Dodgers starter Josh Towers allowed two runs on three hits in four innings with a strikeout. Ortiz pitched the next four, giving up two runs and five hits with two walks and six strikeouts."Towers looked like he had good command," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "I talked with him afterward and he said he thought he made some dumb pitches but he felt good doing what he wanted to do."
Vladimir Guerrero, who made his first appearance in the field Friday for Texas, took the day off. Ethier, Blake DeWitt and James Loney were among the handful of regulars to make the trip for the Dodgers' split squad. Los Angeles plays host to San Diego in a night game in Glendale. Repack had an eventful afternoon. His fifth-inning home run snapped an 0 for 15 start to the spring, but two innings later he was called out for runner's interference when Chin-lung Hue's would-be single to right bounced off his leg between first and second.