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Rangers' Lewis has rough outing in comeback bid

Right-hander gives up six runs, two HRs in 1 1/3 innings; Tepesch also hit hard

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Colby Lewis said he felt good on Saturday afternoon. He also said his stuff was sharp.

The scoreboard said otherwise and Lewis did admit he will have to do better if he is going to be in the Rangers rotation at the start of the season.

"I've got to get outs," said Lewis, who is in camp on a Minor League contract. "If I don't get outs, it's not very fair for me to make the ballclub over other guys. Even when I was on the roster, I always felt I had to get outs and prove myself. Hopefully I'll get a couple of more outings to prove myself."

Lewis got less than half the number of outs he was scheduled to get against the Athletics on Saturday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Lewis, coming back from flexor tendon and hip replacement surgeries, was supposed to go three innings but was knocked out of the game with one out in the second inning of the Rangers 16-15 victory over the Athletics.

Nick Tepesch also struggled, allowing seven runs on nine hits after taking over in the fifth inning. He has allowed 10 runs over five innings in his last two outings.

"Colby couldn't get the ball down or keep his breaking ball down," manager Ron Washington said. "Same with Tepesch, he couldn't get it down. Tepesch has to keep working and get it down. He can't keep getting it up."

The most impressive Rangers pitcher was Shawn Tolleson. He had been set back in Spring Training by some shoulder soreness but made his Cactus League debut in the eighth and set down the side in order. Tolleson, acquired off waivers from the Dodgers in the offseason, has put himself back in the chase for a spot in the bullpen and may become more valuable if the Rangers decide Tanner Scheppers needs to be in the rotation.

"First time seeing him, his stuff was electric," Washington said. "Good sinker, good changeup, kept the ball down. I can't believe it was his first time out there. He's a guy we wanted to look at badly. I'm glad we got a chance to look at him today. I like what I saw."

Lewis, in allowing six runs, faced 13 batters and allowed nine to reach base on five hits, three walks and a hit batter.. He gave up back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches to Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick in the first.

"Warming up I felt great," Lewis said. "I felt I was throwing the ball really good. There were a couple of times I fell behind hitters but other than that I felt sharp. The outcome wasn't very good but I felt like I threw some good pitches. I had a lot more action with my slider than I ever have, my changeup ... everything felt sharp.

"It's not like I'm out there trying to feel it or find it and not being productive. I thought I had a good changeup but they were right on it."

Yu Darvish pitches on Sunday so the rotation competition takes a day off. Joe Saunders and Tommy Hanson are scheduled to pitch Monday as the competition begins anew. The Rangers still have big decisions in front of them.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.

Texas Rangers, Colby Lewis