Colby Lewis aiming to return from elbow surgery before All-Star break

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Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis provided an update on his recovery from July elbow surgery, telling Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that he’s scheduled to begin a throwing program in January and hopes to rejoin the Rangers’ rotation before the All-Star break.

“I feel great,” Lewis said. “I don’t feel any pain and I have my range of motion.”

Instead of hitting the open market as a free agent Lewis agreed to a one-year deal with the Rangers that includes $2 million in guaranteed money and another $4 million in potential incentives.

Nationals sign George Kontos to minors deal

George Kontos
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The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.

Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.

Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.