ARLINGTON -- The Rangers wanted to re-sign pitcher Colby Lewis this offseason, but they were concerned about his surgically repaired right knee.Lewis just laughed when general manager Jon Daniels told him that.• Hot Stove Tracker"You mean you're not worried about my shoulder, hip or elbow?" Lewis asked him.Apparently not, and
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers wanted to re-sign pitcher Colby Lewis this offseason, but they were concerned about his surgically repaired right knee.
Lewis just laughed when general manager Jon Daniels told him that.
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"You mean you're not worried about my shoulder, hip or elbow?" Lewis asked him.
Apparently not, and the knee is fine as well, so the Rangers officially announced Monday that Lewis has signed a one-year, $6 million contract. The sides agreed to the deal last month, but it was pending a completion of the necessary physical.
Lewis said he will be ready for Spring Training. He may not be quite as far along as other starters, but he has no doubts he'll be ready for Opening Day.
"I feel 100 percent. … I feel good," Lewis said. "I've lost a good amount of weight to take the pressure off the knee."
Lewis tore the meniscus in the knee in May, but still pitched through it, going 17-9 with a 4.66 ERA in 33 starts and 204 2/3 innings. In his second season after missing 18 months because of elbow and hip replacement surgeries, Lewis led the team in wins, starts and innings. He had surgery on the knee immediately after the season.
"The only impact [of the knee] was on my conditioning…just being able to put a lot of pressure on it to get my cardio done," Lewis said. "Other than that, I didn't feel much of an impact on the mound. I didn't think about it. In the heat of battle, I don't let things get to me. I grind through it. I didn't want to go on the shelf because the team needed me."
In a pitching-rich free agent market, Lewis was the Rangers' main target as far as addressing their rotation this offseason.
"No. 1, we know the guy," Daniels said. "We know the man, what he is about and what he is going to do to get ready. It is easy to look at the physical stuff and have concerns but … obviously Colby is a huge competitor and has a huge heart. With Colby, time and time again, he has proven he'll figure it out and be ready.
"It's not a fluke he has led the team in starts and innings pitched the last few years. He is an unbelievable competitor. He is one of us. He is a Texas Ranger."
Lewis was originally drafted by the Rangers in 1999, but after multiple teams and injuries, his renaissance as a pitcher did not come until 2010. That's when the Rangers signed him as a free agent after two years in Japan. He helped the Rangers win two American League pennants in 2010-11 and has had no desire to pitch anywhere else but Arlington.
"I know where I wanted to be," Lewis said. "It was just a matter of working out some small details. Ultimately my desire and my family's desire was to be with the Texas Rangers."
The only disappointment for Lewis in 2015 was he was left out of the postseason rotation against the Blue Jays. His only appearance was in relief, but Lewis did not let that deter him from re-signing.
"It was a numbers thing," Lewis said. "You want to be out there, but ultimately you have to do what's best for the team. It was a team decision … you move on, you move forward. I want to be in a Rangers uniform, get back out there and get back to the postseason."
Lewis is expected to be part of a rotation that includes left-handers Cole Hamels, Derek Holland and Martin Perez. The fifth spot is unknown, with the leading candidates being Nick Martinez, Chi Chi Gonzalez and A.J. Griffin, a non-roster invite to camp. Other candidates include right-handers Anthony Ranaudo, Myles Jaye and Phil Klein and left-hander Cesar Ramos.
The Rangers also expect right-hander Yu Darvish to complete his recovery from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and return in mid-to-late May. He took six weeks off from throwing over the holidays, but is doing so on flat ground in Arlington.
Daniels said the club is not engaged in any more major free agent or trade discussions. Yovani Gallardo remains unsigned, but the Rangers aren't involved in that pursuit.
"With the rotation, if we do anything else, it will be along the lines of depth or competition in camp," Daniels said. "We are comfortable with the group we have now, but you can never have enough."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.