Rangers lose RHP Colby Lewis to strained lat muscle in back

Struggling left-hander Derek Holland joined Yu Darvish on the disabled list Wednesday before the Texas Rangers said yet another starter, Colby Lewis, was headed there as well.

A day after Lewis (6-1, 3.21 ERA) had cramping in his right arm while pitching five innings in a loss to Cincinnati, an MRI on Wednesday revealed he has a lat muscle strain that will keep him from throwing for at least four weeks. The 36-year-old right-hander will get a platelet-rich plasma injection Thursday.

"These kind of nagging soft-tissue issues, if you go too quick, they happen again," general manager Jon Daniels said. "You have to have 100 percent recovery. It's like a hamstring injury basically for a pitcher, you have to give it time."

After the initial four weeks, Lewis will have another MRI to determine if he is then ready to start throwing again. The Rangers didn't officially put him on the DL before Wednesday night's game against the Reds, and then have an off day Thursday.

Holland (5-5, 5.20 ERA) was put on the 15-day DL with left shoulder inflammation, two days after allowing 11 of 23 Baltimore batters he faced to reach base in 4⅓ innings. The lefty has given up 13 runs over 13⅓ innings his past three starts.

"It's been going on for a little bit and started bothering me a little bit more in the last start so we want to make sure everything is OK," Holland said. "I felt like I could play through it, but obviously I wasn't doing a good job."

Darvish has been on the DL since after his last start June 8, which was only his third start for the Rangers since Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in March 2015. He returned to the DL with right shoulder discomfort.

The right-hander from Japan threw off flat ground Wednesday, and manager Jeff Banister said that went well. Darvish could throw again Thursday, and could throw a bullpen or side session by this weekend.

Right-hander Luke Jackson was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock after Holland was put on the DL.

Nick Martinez (1-1, 5.14) will pitch the series opener against Boston on Friday, and right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.94), out since May 8 with right shoulder stiffness, will be reinstated from the DL to start Saturday. Lefty Martin Perez (6-4, 3.57) will start Sunday in what would have been Holland's spot.

Texas will need another starter next week at the New York Yankees. The potential options include Triple-A pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez or veteran right-hander Kyle Lohse, who is also at Round Rock after signing a minor league deal with the Rangers last month.

Lewis was off to his best start in his 12 major league seasons, his ninth in two stints with Texas. He flirted with a perfect game, and took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of his previous start, and had won his first six decisions before giving up a three-run homer in the first inning while experiencing discomfort Tuesday night.

"It's disappointing. The big thing is take the lighter note of it, I don't have to be cut on," Lewis said after the Rangers' 6-4 win over the Reds on Wednesday night. "I was on a really good roll, helping, contributing, doing my part. ... Yeah, it stinks. Hopefully, whoever jumps in my spot in the rotation can kind of pick up where I left off and contribute the same way."

Lewis said he can continue doing everything but throwing, including riding his bike and some shoulder work to stay in shape.

"On the personal level, it's a kick in the gut," Daniels said. "There's nobody more respected and admired on the club than Colby, having as good a season as you could imagine, an All-Star candidate."

This is the third season in a row that Holland has been on the disabled list. He missed most of the 2014 season rehabbing from left knee surgery, and had his 2015 season shortened because of a left shoulder strain. But he doesn't expect this to be a major setback.

"It's better than what it could have been. I'm glad it's not something major. That's definitely the bright side after what I've gone through," Holland said. "It's on my shoulder, rotator cuff. ... It's nowhere near that pain level" from last year.