PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mason Tobin is doing everything he can to earn a spot in the Rangers' bullpen. That's pretty remarkable considering he hasn't pitched in two years because of injuries (had Tommy John in 2009 and was recovering in 2010) and hasn't pitched above Class A.
But the Rule 5 draft pick (he was traded to the Rangers for cash from the Cubs, who took him in the draft from the Angels) continues to show good command and get ground balls. He pitched just one inning on Sunday, but it was a good one. He struck out Ryan Langerhans and got Adam Moore and Adam Kennedy to ground out.
To keep Tobin, the Rangers have to keep him on the active roster. If he isn't, they'd have to offer him back to his original team (Angels) before he could get through waivers and be sent to the minors. But he's pitching well enough to make this bullpen so far. He threw all three of his pitches for strikes on Sunday -- fastball, slider, changeup -- and was pleased with the results.
"Right now, it feels good to be pitching again," Tobin said. "When you don't play for two years and you get back in games, that's the exciting thing."
Tobin swears he isn't thinking about winning a spot or what may or may not happen. He's only focused on building arm strength and pitching well.
* Rangers No. 2 starter Colby Lewis smiled and said he was ready to leave Arizona and get the season going. After a rocky first inning, Lewis settled down and found his fastball command and located well with his changeup allowing no more runs in the next four innings.
Lewis gave up a two-run homer to Chone Figgins on an 0-2 fastball that was up and in.
"It probably caught a little more of the plate than I wanted, but I didn't think he'd hit it like that," Lewis said. "I got my stuff over after that and did what I wanted to."
Lewis is slated to start against the Red Sox on Saturday, April 2. That's the same day the Rangers will get their AL championship rings. Fitting, since Lewis beat the Yankees twice in that ALCS to help send the team to the World Series.
Lewis has had a quiet spring training, which is good news. With everything else going on, he's simply put his work in and said that he's felt stronger with every start.
* OF Josh Hamilton has talked about doing a better job of working counts the last week and staying patient. He got a walk in the first and got a pitch he wanted in the fifth, but just got a little under it. The game went into extra innings and he belted a double off the center field wall (and thought about trying for three before smartly pulling up...no reason to test it now).
* 2B Michael Young was 3-for-5 with three RBIs. He's hitting .380 this spring and his timing at the plate sure looks good.
* 1B Mike Napoli was one of four Rangers with multiple hits (Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Young were the others).
* C Matt Treanor hit his first homer of the spring. He's hitting .273 in Cactus League games.
* LHP Darren Oliver continues to be a bright spot in a bullpen that has struggled. He had one strikeout in one inning.