SURPRISE, Ariz. — The best news coming out of the Texas Rangers intrasquad game Tuesday came from right-hander Colby Lewis.
Lewis, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since July of 2012, hopped off the mound at the end of the first inning and fielded a bunt cleanly without thinking about his surgically repaired right hip.
That play concluded a perfect 11-pitch inning for Lewis in his bid to win a spot in the Texas rotation.
"I wasn’t nervous at all, just anxious to get out there and get the first one out of the way," said Lewis, who threw eight of his pitches for strikes. "I want to go out there and win a job. I’m competing to win a job, plain and simple."
Lewis’ fastball varied from 87-89 mph and he struck out Jim Adduci to finish his inning of work.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux liked what he saw out of Lewis.
"Man that was like vintage Colby," Maddux said. "His fastball was back. His slider was biting. He looked really good. He kept the ball down. He had a good plane on it. I can’t come up with enough good adjectives to talk about it."
Lewis was one of several Texas starters to excel Tuesday. Martin Perez also pitched a perfect inning and Alexi Ogando was also sharp in his inning of work. Closer Neftali Feliz did struggle though, allowing a homer to Brett Nicholas and three hits in his inning.
"It can be better," Maddux said. "I thought he threw a couple of decent changeups but the changeup plays off the fastball. We’ve got to get the fastball up to speed before that changeup before he can get away with a mistake."