Colby Lewis took the ball for his final start of Spring Training yesterday, allowing only four hits and a walk in 5.0 innings of work.
While earlier in the week, there had been speculation that Lewis could be an option for Opening Day when it was revealed that Yu Darvish would be scratched from the start, I'm not sure it was ever a realistic option for the organization. For the Rangers' part, they wanted to make sure Lewis has built up the proper stamina before throwing him into more high-leverage games.
So it wasn't exactly a revelation when, even after a solid outing, it's Nick Martinez in the rotation, and not Colby Lewis -- at least yet. The Rangers will have Lewis try to build up to 100 pitches on April 6, which would put him in line to start on regular rest on April 11 against the Astros.
Despite all of that, it didn't stop Lewis from seeming to be a bit perturbed by the whole situtation. After his outing, he sounded like a guy who had hoped there was still a chance that he would be in the rotation at the beginning of the season.
I’m healthy. That’s all I’ve got. You guys can write whatever you want.
Rather than worry about Colby Lewis having hurt feelings, I'm actually rather impressed. That's pride talking, and sometimes, a certain amount of pride is important for a pitcher in Major League Baseball. Furthermore, it just goes to show the motivation that Lewis has to get back from yet another career setback and prove that he can still compete. If you're the Rangers, that has to make you feel really good about the prospect of seeing him in the rotation if he indeed manages to stay healthy.
As far as the Opening Day starter goes, there had been a narrative that Scheppers got the nod over Martin Perez due to age and maturity. Matt Mosely talked about the same in a piece over at Fox Sports, but I think the part missing from all of this has been the aspect of regular rest. Rather than shuffle things around even more, the Rangers preferred to keep Martin Perez on a schedule. After all, he is only 22 years of age (to turn 23 in April), and has long been thougth to be the #2 starter in the rotation.
Scheppers, on the other hand, only within the past week was announced to be in the rotation, and news of Darvish missing his first start didn't come until earlier in the week. Instead of moving Perez up a day, the Rangers decided to roll with Scheppers and keep things at least somewhat organized.
I just don't buy the idea that the Rangers don't have faith in Perez. He has a new contract that puts the club in control of him for seven years, which certainly indicates faith in the young pitcher. I suppose we're at the point of the year in which we're all longing for real baseball to start and it becomes a bit easier to look for stories that might not really be there.
At the very least, I agree with Evan Grant, who essentially asserts that the way in which the Rangers have still been able to come up with a rotation that is mostly filled with parts from within is proof that the scouting and development in the organization is top-notch. When the Rangers get some players back from injury, there could be an embarrassment of riches on the pitching front, and that makes me feel good about the future of the organization beyond just 2014.