Colby Lewis on verge of return

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas right-hander Colby Lewis is set to make his first major league start since July 2012 on Monday.

Lewis, 34, injured his throwing elbow nearly two years ago and had surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon. He never found his velocity in 2013 and spent the entire season on the disabled list before undergoing right hip resurfacing surgery in August.

Lewis, however, never gave up his desire to want to return, and the Rangers re-signed him with hopes he could return.

"I'm excited," said Lewis, who usually doesn't show a lot of outward emotion. "I'm real excited. I'm excited to get back. I'm thankful for the opportunity. I'm thankful to [team physician Dr. Keith] Meister and [hip surgeon Dr. Edwin] Su for putting my body back together so I can go do this."

Lewis has steadily progressed this offseason and in spring training starts, building up arm strength and not having any setbacks with his hip. Lewis has even gotten to the point where he doesn't think about the hip and is just pitching.

He had to make some adjustments with his mechanics because he now has added range of motion with the resurfaced hip, but feels comfortable and ready. He's surprised many with the club, including the manager, by how well he's come back.

"I'm surprised because I didn't know what to expect, and a bit not surprised because it's Colby Lewis," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Just think of what he did with it bad [hip]. We've got to see how the rigors of competing out there at the major league level, how that moves on. We'll wait and see."

In Lewis, the Rangers also get a stalwart of their rotation back. Lewis was the team's best postseason pitcher in 2010 and 2011, when the franchise posted consecutive World Series appearances.

"I don't mean this in a mean way, but he's the grandfather of our pitching staff," Washington said. "He's a leader. It will be nice to have him back and competing and getting results. We know what he's capable of doing."

Lewis was 6-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts in 2012. But he pitched at least 200 innings in each of the World Series seasons, winning a combined 26 games.