Colby Lewis

Colby Lewis gives up five homers, strikes out career-best 12

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It was certainly a case of feast or famine for the Orioles in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader.

Rangers starter Colby Lewis gave up three straight homers to begin the bottom of the first, retired the next 18 hitters he faced and then surrendered two more homers in the seventh to leave down 6-0 versus Baltimore.

The end result: Lewis struck out a career-high 12 batters and allowed a career-high five homers. Those homers were the only hits he allowed.

Lewis became just the fifth pitcher in major league history to give up five homers and no other hits. Oakland’s Ted Lilly was the last, surrendering five homers in four innings against the Braves on June 11, 2003. Denny McLain (1971), Steve Stone (1974) and Charlie Hough (1989) were the others to manage it. No one has ever given up six homers and no other hits.

The 12 strikeouts was also by far the most for anyone in a game with five homers allowed. Hough struck out nine in that aforementioned start on June 24, 1989, which had been the previous high total. Curt Schilling, on June 28, 1997, was the last pitcher to strike out 12 and give up four homers.

Lewis also issued just one walk on the day. So, while his ERA jumped from 2.97 to 3.69, his WHIP actually dropped from 1.14 to 1.10.

Josh Hamilton has knee surgery, out 2-3 months

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.

As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:

That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.