The Texas Rangers just can’t catch a break. A day after Nelson Cruz received a 50-game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic, the Rangers discovered that Colby Lewis will miss the rest of the season because of surgery to remove bone spurs from his right hip. In other words, there’s less of a cavalry coming to help Texas during the playoff stretch run.
Lewis was slowly working his way back from elbow surgery that cut his 2012 season short but the obstacles have now become too much and the 34-year-old won’t play at all in the majors this year. After his fifth rehab start with Double-A Frisco on Saturday, Lewis decided the bone spurs were affecting his pitching mechanics to the point that he was putting his arm at risk.
The kicker here is Lewis is a free agent at the end of this year so depending on your point of view, this could be a silver lining as the Rangers will almost certainly re-sign the 34-year-old at a bargain price with an incentive-heavy deal in the upcoming offseason. However, that time could be sooner than Texas would like without Lewis in the rotation.
The Rangers have recently made up ground in the AL West race but they’ve been banking on Lewis’ eventual return for a late-season surge to take the division and build momentum heading into the playoffs. Now without Lewis, it will be tough for Texas to catch the Oakland A’s and if that happens, the Rangers will have a tough time advancing in the AL postseason without their most consistent, reliable pitcher.
On the flip side, the Rangers have a new ace in Yu Darvish and the acquisition of Matt Garza before the 2013 MLB trade deadline definitely helps. The return of Matt Harrison will also help bolster Texas’ rotation; the left-hander is set to make his latest rehab start with Triple-A Round Rock after his latest outing with Frisco on Sunday.
The main concern in Arlington now is when the team will have a chance to compete for another World Series. Without Lewis, it will likely be in 2014, but we haven’t seen the Rangers’ rotation at full power yet. We won’t see it at 100 percent in 2013, but if everyone gets healthy besides Lewis, things could get interesting in September.