Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis began a new minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday at Double-A Frisco. The debut went not so swimmingly.
Via beat writer Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas, Lewis surrendered four runs — including a two-run homer — before being removed with two outs in the top of the third inning. Facing the Padres’ Double-A affiliate from San Antonio, Texas, Lewis made it only 45 pitches and he topped out at just 89 mph.
Lewis underwent major elbow surgery last July and has not pitched in the majors this season. He was originally aiming for an early-June return and started a rehab assignment in late April, but he developed triceps tendinitis in May. That same routine took place again two weeks later. There’s no timetable this time around.
Lewis, 33, owns a sharp 3.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 8.1 K/9 in 506 1/3 innings since breaking back into the big leagues with the Rangers in 2010 after two career-resurrecting seasons in Japan’s Central League.
He signed a one-year, $2 million deal with Texas in September, 2012 and will be a free agent this winter.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.