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Rangers' Lewis attempting comeback from hip surgery

The SportsXchange

Right-hander Colby Lewis, helped by an advanced surgical technique, is trying to win a spot in the Texas Rangers' starting rotation this spring.

Lewis is recovering from a resurfacing procedure on his right hip that was performed last August. It is a surgery that is less invasive than a hip replacement but gives the patient the same improvement in quality of life.

New York orthopedist Edwin Su performed the surgery last August in which the femoral head and socket are shaved down and capped with cobalt-chromium alloy. The typical patient is someone in such bad condition that he is unable to tie his shoes.

Defenseman Ed Jovanoski of the NHL's Florida Panthers is the only other athlete in any of the four major North American professional sports to have the surgery and return to action.

Lewis had the operation last August while recovering from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery that was performed in July 2012. He missed the entire 2013 season. Su told Lewis it was doubtful he would be recovered in time to make the opening day roster this year but the 34-year-old set a goal of making the club out of spring training.

"I felt I wanted to put myself in a spot to win a job in the starting rotation at the end of spring training," Lewis said. "As long as I'm healthy, that's where I want to be."

Lewis is part of a six-man competition for the final two spots in the rotation along with left-handers Robbie Ross and Joe Saunders and right-handers Tommy Hanson, Nick Tepesch and Tanner Scheppers.

Lewis showed great improvement in his second Cactus League start March 9 when he needed 23 pitches to throw two shutout innings against the Seattle Mariners. Five days earlier, he lasted just two-thirds of an inning against the Cleveland Indians, throwing 32 pitches.

"I got back to being myself," Lewis said of his performance against the Mariners that Rangers manager Ron Washington called "awesome."

"I can chalk up that last one to being my first time out and being overly anxious," Lewis continued. "The ball was down in the zone and I was throwing better strikes."

NOTES, QUOTES

--3B Adrian Beltre will continue to bat cleanup for the Rangers this season despite the acquisition of 1B Prince Fielder from the Detroit Tigers in an offseason trade for 2B Ian Kinsler. Beltre has hit .312 in his three seasons with the Rangers while averaging 33 home runs and 100 RBIs a year and led the American League with 199 hits in 2013. Fielder will bat third, just in front of Beltre, after hitting .279 with 25 home runs and 106 RBIs last season while playing all 162 games.

--2B Jurickson Profar is expected to play his first game in the field sometime during the latter part of the week as he continues to recover from right shoulder tendinitis. Profar has been limited to designated-hitter duty so far in Cactus League play. He started off the spring by going 10-for-33 (.303) with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 11 games.

--RHP Nick Tepesch allowed three runs and 10 hits in five innings in his first two spring appearances after being bothered by back soreness in the early part of camp. He had yet to strike out a batter and allowed one walk in his bid to win a spot in the starting rotation. Tepesch went 4-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 19 games, including 17 starts, last season as a rookie.

--LHP Robbie Ross is trying to become a starter this spring after making 123 relief appearances during the first two seasons of his career. He has pitched twice in Cactus League games, giving up two runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings with two walks and two strikeouts. Last season, Ross was 4-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 65 games.

--RHP Tanner Scheppers has made a good early impression in his bid to earn a starting job after having a stellar season in relief a year ago. In his first two outings of the spring, Scheppers gave up one run on three hits in 4 2/3 innings with one walk and three strikeouts. He pitched in 76 games last year, going 6-2 with one save and a 1.88 ERA.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Prince Fielder, in his career, has always been the protector. Now I'm going to make him the protectee," manager Ron Washington, on batting Fielder third when he has primarily hit cleanup during his nine-year career.
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