Colby Lewis happy, thankful after first start

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Colby Lewis didn't win his first start in two years. But the 34-year-old veteran won the first major step of his comeback, getting out on the mound after hip resurfacing and giving his Texas Rangers team 5 1/3 innings Monday.

Lewis was thankful to be out there. And, after the Rangers lost 7-1 to the Seattle Mariners, he was insistent he stay a little longer in the future. Lewis wants to pitch deeper into games, and he believes he can after seeing the reaction from his hip and his readjusted mechanics (he has more range of motion after the surgery, which has created a longer stride).

"It was a stepping stone, but I definitely wanted a different outcome," Lewis said. "I expect myself to go a little bit deeper in the game, but it is what it is, and move on and five days from now get the ball and go after it."

In many ways, there wasn't much difference between the Lewis who pitched Monday and the one who started at the beginning of 2012, before a torn flexor tendon in his elbow began a 21-month absence from big league games. He was getting ahead of hitters, throwing first-pitch strikes to 10 of the first 13 batters he faced. His fastball was in the 88 to 91 mph range, about where it was the past four or five seasons of his career. He used his slider to get some strikeouts and he kept the ball down.

Lewis ended up allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts and a home run. He threw 89 pitches, 56 for strikes.

"I felt like it was real similar [to 2012]," Lewis said. "I felt like I was commanding the ball down in the zone on both sides of the plate. I threw more of a strike-slider there to the 9-hole guy and gave up a homer, but other than that, I felt my stuff was sharp and I was able to throw stuff behind in the count and ahead in the count."

Lewis admitted he was a bit nervous. He said he wanted to "get out there and have a good time," and he did that.

"I thought he was outstanding," manager Ron Washington said. "I really did. He didn't walk anyone. He pounded the strike zone. The runs they got off him, they earned it by hitting the ball. He had a good breaking ball, was able to spot his fastball. [We're] happy to have him back."