ARLINGTON, Texas -- The remarkable story of Colby Lewis continued Friday night. He pitched six innings against the AL Central-leading Kansas City Royals, giving up four runs and six hits in a 6-3 loss.
The fact Lewis is on the mound at all is the story of the night. One year ago, Lewis underwent hip resurfacing surgery. No major pro athlete had returned from a surgery of this kind.
Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington knew there would be doubters regarding Lewis' ability to return from surgery.
"Yeah, I think everybody did," Washington said. "No one has ever come back from that, especially a pitcher. Bo Jackson tried it and it didn't work [in football] and it may have worked for him a couple of years later, but it didn't work. But no one has ever come back from that and this is new territory. We really didn't know what to expect out of Colby. I think we all thought if there's anybody who can pull this off it would be Colby."
While staff ace Yu Darvish deals with inflammation in his right elbow and ponders a potential return from the disabled list, Lewis is standing right behind him in several pitching categories, proving people wrong.
He's second on the team in wins (eight), innings pitched (128) and strikeouts (105). Darvish leads the team in all those categories and here's Lewis, with that magical hip, right behind him.
"I definitely wanted to be in this position," Lewis said. "It's kinda crazy, I didn't think [I was] the guy who would go out there and probably throw the most innings on this squad after having hip replacement the year before. Crazy things happen, like I said before, I'm really, really thankful for the opportunity the Rangers have given me to come back and take the mound every five days. I know I have been inconsistent at times, especially in the first half and I think that's probably due to body adjustment and all of that kinda stuff."
However, the reality of Lewis' situation is 2015. He's auditioning for next season because, frankly, he doesn't have a contract and everything he does in this dismal Rangers season builds his case for next year.
"It's up to the front office," Lewis said. "They got a lot of things to think about and a lot of guys who have been hurt. Who's going to come back next year and who's going to be ready for next year, coming out of the minor leagues? Who they want to be in the rotation? It's not up to me. I got to go out there and do my job."
Lewis can't afford slip-ups like the ones he had against the Royals on Friday.
He likes to challenge hitters with his fastball and twice he was beaten for home runs by Billy Butler and Josh Willingham. Lewis' teammates gave him a 1-0 lead after the first and he admitted the second inning needed to become a shutdown inning.
He gave up three runs and four hits, and then settled down. In the third, he retired the side, but the Rangers' offense is so poor right now that giving up three or four runs a night as a starter might be too much to overcome.
Lewis keeps fighting to maintain his gig and compete for one next year after the injured pitchers from 2014 and quite possibly a free-agent pitcher enters the fold to compete with him, Darvish and Derek Holland.
"I don't know if anybody is like the way they were three, four or five years ago," he said. "I feel great, I don't have any pain. I think I adjust to how I feel that day. I adjust to what type of stuff I had. Warming up in the game, I thought everything was great. I felt really, really good warming up in the bullpen and it just didn't quite transfer. But I was able to go six innings and try to keep us as close as possible."