Rangers dealing with another pitching loss

ARLINGTON, Texas — The No. 1 thing Texas manager Ron
Washington stressed to his team when spring training began in February was the
importance of staying healthy.

Washington said he was primarily talking to the position players. Maybe his
focus should have been the pitchers.

Texas place right-hander Colby Lewis on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with
right forearm tendinitis. He’s the third member of the Opening Day rotation on
the DL, joining Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland.

Texas recalled left-hander Martin Perez to take the open roster spot and plugged
right-hander Scott Feldman into Lewis’ rotation slot for Thursday.

Lewis initially felt some tightness in the forearm in a start against Houston
on June 17. It was worse in his Saturday start against Colorado. Lewis was
hoping to skip just one start, but with the All-Star break looming, the Rangers
didn’t want to take a risk with their workhorse starter for each of the last
two seasons.

“We decided to play it safe and shut him down for that 10-day period here
before the All-Star break and our expectation is that he will be able to bounce
back and be activated after the break,” Texas general manager Jon Daniels
said. “Obviously we’ll take it step-by-step, but that’s our expectation is
he’ll be back after the break.”

Lewis has made 87 starts since the Rangers signed him before the 2010 season
counting the playoffs. Daniels said the club has taken steps to try and give
starters as much of a break as they can because of the workload. There’s no way
to know if this injury is related to that.

“You look at Colby for instance. He’s probably had two months additional
pitching, probably 12 starts,” Daniels said. “He’s held up remarkably
well. Some of these things are inevitable. We’ve talked about it. We’ve tried
to take steps to guard against it. I think that’s one of the natures of the

Lewis (6-6) said he had a similar issue while pitching in Japan in 2008. He
went on to win 15 games that season and pitched 178 innings. He had an MRI on
the arm and received a cortisone injection Monday.

“I’d rather be safe than sorry and not push the issue now and then not be
able to be there for these guys at the end of the year,” Lewis said.
“I might as well miss two (weeks) and have a break and then be ready to
come back after that. It’s the same type of feeling I had in 2008. It’s just a
situation where maybe it needs rest.”

The Lewis injury creates another domino effect for a Texas staff which was
injury free for the first seven weeks of the season but now has five pitchers
on the DL.

Perez will be available in the bullpen on Tuesday and could figure into the mix
for Saturday’s vacant starting spot along with Justin Grimm. That decision
depends on how the two of them are used in relief over the next couple of

Perez, 21, was 5-5 for Triple-A Round Rock. The lefty was solid in his last two
starts, winning both and allowed just two runs in 16 innings. The highly-touted
Venezuelan is looking forward to the opportunity to show what he can do for

“I’ve been working hard and it’s finally paid off for me,” said
Perez, who changed up his between-start throwing program a couple of weeks ago
and has seen dividends from the move. “Of course, I’m here to help the
team as much as I can, and try and stay here.”

While Lewis is the latest starter to go on the DL, the club is pleased with the
progress its other injured pitchers have made.

Holland, who is out with left shoulder fatigue, makes his first rehab start
Wednesday for Round Rock. He’s slated to start again Monday. Daniels said the
team wants him to make a third rehab start, but that may change now because of
the rash of injuries.

Right-hander Alexi Ogando, who has a groin strain, threw from 90 feet Tuesday
and could throw a bullpen session next week. Feliz, who has a sprained right
UCL, also threw from 90 feet on Tuesday and could throw off a mound the weekend
before the All-Star break. Reliever Koji Uehara could begin throwing bullpens
next week.

While the Rangers are in the midst of a tough injury stretch, manager Ron
Washington isn’t feeling sorry for his team.

“This game is always a mental test,” Washington said. “These
guys have always handled adversity well. They don’t let what’s not here affect
what they have to do. I think that’s why we’ve been able to hold on because we
just play what we’ve got.”