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 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."
--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 of March 10-16 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 after he primarily has hit cleanup during his nine-year career.
RHP Yu Darvish
RHP Alexi Ogando
LHP Martin Perez
RHP Tommy Hanson
LHP Joe Saunders
Darvish led the major leagues with 277 strikeouts in 209 2/3 innings last season. Harrison was limited to two starts last year because of back trouble after winning a combined 32 games during the previous two seasons. Staying healthy has been a problem for Ogando, who was on the disabled list three times last season.
Perez needs to do a better job limiting baserunners after allowing 129 hits and 37 walks in 124 1/3 innings last season. Hanson had a career-worst 5.42 ERA in 73 innings for the Los Angeles Angels last season while bothered by a sore forearm, and Saunders was 11-16 with a 5.26 ERA for the Seattle Mariners. Hanson and Saunders are favored to win the last two spots in a competition that also includes RHP Colby Lewis, LHP Robbie Ross, RHP Nick Tepesch and RHP Tanner Scheppers.
RHP Neftali Feliz (closer)
RHP Joakim Soria
RHP Tanner Scheppers
LHP Neal Cotts
RHP Jason Frasor
LHP Robbie Ross
LHP Michael Kirkman
Feliz must prove he is healthy after being limited to 14 games over the last two seasons because of Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. Soria walked 14 in 23 2/3 innings last season in his return from a second Tommy John operation. Scheppers had an outstanding 1.88 ERA in 76 2/3 innings last year.
After being away from the major leagues for four years because of injury, Cotts struck out 65 in 57 innings last season while giving up just 36 hits. Frasor was quickly re-signed by the Rangers as a free agent after he notched a 2.57 ERA in 49 innings in 2013.
Ross and Kirkman will both be stretched out as starters in Cactus League games but will likely serve as long men out of the bullpen if they fail to make the rotation.
1. LF Shin-Soo Choo
2. SS Elvis Andrus
3. 1B Prince Fielder
4. 3B Adrian Beltre
5. RF Alex Rios
6. DH Mitch Moreland
7. C Geovany Soto
8. 2B Jurickson Profar
9. CF Leonys Martin
Choo had a .423 on-base percentage last season with the Cincinnati Reds but his batting average against left-handed pitchers was just .215. Andrus stole a career-high 42 stolen bases last season, which helped offset a .328 OBP. Fielder's on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) dropped to .818 last season from .940 in 2012, part of the reason why the Detroit Tigers were willing to trade him.
Beltre has hit at least 30 home runs in each of the last four seasons. Rios had a career-high 42 steals last season, including 16 in 47 games after being acquired from the Chicago White Sox in an August trade. While Moreland's 23 homers last season were a career best, he hit just .183 in the second half in 191 at-bats.
Soto showed enough last season with a .466 slugging percentage and nine home runs in 54 games that he was promoted to No. 1 catcher and A.J. Pierzynski was allowed to leave and sign with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent. Profar hit just .234 with 63 strikeouts in 286 at-bats as a rookie last season. Martin hit .283 in the first half of last season as a rookie but .238 following the All-Star break.
TOP ROOKIES: OF Michael Choice, who starred just down the road from Globe Life Ballpark at the University of Texas-Arlington, was acquired by the Rangers from the Oakland Athletics in an offseason trade. He figures to be Texas' designated hitter against left-handed pitchers. Choice hit .302 with 14 home runs and a .390 on-base percentage last season in 132 games with Triple-A Sacramento.
OF Engel Beltre, 24, will have a chance to win a job as a left-handed-hitting reserve. He posted a .292 batting average, seven homers and 15 stolen bases in 94 games with Triple-A Round Rock last season. In 24 games with Texas, he batted .250/.268/.275 with two RBIs.
--SS Elvis Andrus (mild tendinitis in right flexor tendon) played his first game at shortstop March 5. Andrus was shut down for two days after feeling pain in his arm while making a throw across the diamond Feb. 28.
--LHP Matt Harrison (stiff back) returned to Dallas on Feb. 24 to be examined by a spine specialist, Dr. Drew Dossett, who performed both of Harrison's back procedures last year. Dossett gave Harrison the go ahead to return to his throwing program Feb. 27. He was pleased with his side throwing session March 8 and could soon be cleared to make his first game appearance of the spring. Harrison, 28, had back issues last April after just two starts and ended up having a herniated disc repaired at the end of the month. He missed the remainder of the season and subsequently had a rib surgically removed in September in an effort to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome.
--INF Jurickson Profar (right shoulder tendinitis) was limited to DH duty in Cactus League games through March 10, but he is expected to see his first action in the field in mid-March. He should be ready to begin the season as the everyday shortstop.
--RF Alex Rios (strained right oblique) missed his seventh consecutive game March 10. The Rangers listed him as day-to-day.
--C Geovany Soto (arthroscopic left foot surgery in February 2014) is tentatively scheduled to see his first game action March 15. He is expected to be ready for the start of the season.
--LHP Derek Holland (microfracture left knee surgery in January 2014) went on the 60-day disabled list March 3. He is likely to be sidelined until midseason.
--LHP Joseph Ortiz (broken left foot) went on the 60-day disabled list Feb. 14. He will be out until at least late May.
--RHP Colby Lewis (Tommy John surgery in July 2012, right hip surgery in August 2013) made his spring debut March 3, then pitched again March 9.
- Sports & Recreation
- Colby Lewis
- Adrian Beltre
- Tanner Scheppers
- Prince Fielder
- Robbie Ross
- spring training
- Joe Saunders
- Texas Rangers
- Nick Tepesch