Colby Lewis allows 4 runs, but feels better

FRISCO, Texas -- Colby Lewis' pitching line from Wednesday night may not show that he's making progress in his bid to help the Texas Rangers in August and September.

Four runs in 2⅔ innings. One swing and a miss. A two-run home run on the 45th and final pitch he threw for Double-A Frisco.

But where Lewis is now, compared to where he was when he pitched for Frisco on May 20, is way better.

It gives the right-hander the confidence that he will get sharper and will pitch in a big league game for the first time since last July.

"I was hoping it would feel a lot better and it definitely does," Lewis said.

The last time Lewis pitched in Frisco, he was downcast after his start. He topped out on the radar gun with his fastball twice at 87 mph and neither of those pitches were close to being strikes.

After that outing, the 33-year-old Lewis said there was no chance he could get big league hitters out. He made one more rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock, and then was shut down with elbow tendinitis.

He's had a plasma-rich platelet injection since then and has been feeling better and in a good frame of mind. His first of what will likely be four rehab starts was another confidence boost for him as he topped out at 89 mph with his fastball and was a consistent 87 on the gun.

"I feel like I have more whip," Lewis said. "The ball is coming out of my hand a little easier. It was a lot of effort trying to get the ball to the plate the last time I was here. Hopefully it gets easier each time I go out.”

Lewis will pitch for Frisco again on Monday, likely a 60-pitch outing. He’ll be back in Arlington on Thursday working out with the big league team.

Lewis allowed four hits Wednesday night. He threw 27 for strikes and allowed the two-run home run in the third inning on a 3-2 changeup. He did say he threw some good changeups.

“Overall I need to get some sharpness back,” Lewis said. “I have to be able to locate a little bit better. That's going to come with a couple of more starts and I'll be ready to go."

His second inning was his best -- six pitches for a 1-2-3 inning. He hit 88 mph on the gun.

Lewis seemed to tire in the third inning -- though he said he didn’t -- as his velocity dropped a few ticks.

"It was a little more difficult to get loose in the third inning,” Lewis said. “I felt like I still had some arm strength.

“I felt you locate one and the next time you try to locate it, it's not there. It's just being able to repeat, be able repeat your delivery and get some quick outs."

The good news for Lewis is he is in a better frame of mind and believes he will pitch for the Rangers in a few weeks.

"When I'm ready, I'm sure they'll think I'm ready and activate me,” Lewis said. "I want to get back to the form I've been in the last three years."