The Rangers announced this afternoon that they have re-signed right-hander Colby Lewis to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training. Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that he’d make $2 million if he makes the Rangers and could earn an addition $4 million with incentives.
Lewis hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since July 18, 2012, after which he required surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow. The 34-year-old encountered multiple setbacks while attempting to rehab this year and was ultimately shut down to undergo season-ending hip surgery.
Lewis posted a 3.93 ERA and averaged 8.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 80 starts from 2010-2012, so this is a low-risk/high-reward situation for Texas. He’s far from a guarantee to be healthy and effective in the spring, but the Rangers could have the option to keep Alexi Ogando in the bullpen if Lewis locks down a rotation spot.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.