3/9/2014 3:02 P.M. ET
Lewis takes big step in comeback, race for rotation
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Colby Lewis wants to be in the Rangers rotation when the season opens. More outings like Sunday afternoon against the Mariners will help.
Lewis needed only 23 pitches to get through two scoreless innings in his Cactus League outing. Lewis, who is coming back from flexor tendon surgery in 2012 and hip replacement last August, allowed two hits, one walk and one strikeout.
"Awesome," manager Ron Washington said. "He was able to get over his front side, he was able to command his fastball, he had a good slider and a good changeup. It was a nice outing for Colby. He'll get the ball again and the next time it will be three innings and we'll see how it goes. We'll keep ramping him up and see how he can stand it. So far so good."
Lewis didn't get out of the first inning in his first start against the Indians on Monday, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks.
"I got back to being myself," Lewis said. "I can chalk up that last one to it being my first time out and being overly anxious. Today the ball was down in the zone and I was throwing better strikes."
Lewis fared better than Nick Tepesch, another rotation candidate who allowed three runs in two-plus innings. Tepesch faced 13 batters and nine reached base on eight hits and a walk.
The biggest boost for Lewis is being able to pitch without pain in his right hip and be able to pitch without thinking about it. He was able to get over and cover first base on a potential double-play grounder to Prince Fielder. The Rangers couldn't complete the double play because Lewis missed the bag with his foot but he was still able to get off the mound and complete his assignment.
"I felt I wanted to put myself in a spot to win a job in the rotation at the end of Spring Training," Lewis said. "As long as I'm healthy, that's where I want to be."
Profar getting closer to playing second
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jurickson Profar is still limited to designated hitter duty but is probably less than a week away from making his first appearance at second base in a Cactus League game. Profar has been dealing with shoulder tendinitis but his throwing program is advancing toward a conclusion.
Profar is able to take full infield work and make the routine throws of his position. He just hasn't really tested the tough and awkward throws associated with the position or made relay throws from the outfield. He is playing long toss at 105 feet but the Rangers want him to go another 15-20 feet out before he starts trying long relays throws.
"Those are some of the things we want him to do before he plays in a game," assistant general manager Thad Levine said.
Profar was 0-for-4 with a walk on Sunday against the Mariners but is still hitting .310 for the spring.
Durable Rios still delayed by injury
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Alex Rios was out of the lineup for the fifth straight game on Sunday while dealing with a strained intercoastal muscle in his right rib cage. Rios also had a sore left toe earlier in Spring Training and has played in just four of 11 Cactus League games.
"Sometimes you just can't force it in Spring Training," Rios said. "It's better to take your time and do things as a precaution and try not to get hurt worse. It's just something that happens. I'm not worried about it."
Sitting out Cactus League games for minor ailments is one thing. The regular season is different and Rios doesn't miss many. He has been on the disabled list just once in his 10-year Major League career. That was in 2006 and it was an unusual situation. Rios fouled a pitch off his left ankle and it caused some swelling. He was only supposed to be out a couple of days at the most but somehow the injury became staph infected and Rios missed a month.
But since the start of the 2007 season, Rios has played in 1,070 of a possible 1,134 games. He is seventh in games played among all Major League players in that stretch and second behind Ichiro Suzuki among outfielders.
"I prepare myself to play to go out and play 162 games," Rios said. "Sometimes things happen that you can't control but what I can control is my preparation. I am proud of that."
Washington follows MLB memo on playing regulars
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Rangers brought Jurickson Profar, Elvis Andrus, Prince Fielder and Leonys Martin to Peoria on Sunday for their Cactus League game against the Mariners. That satisfied Major League Baseball's edict that every team needs to have at least four starters or established players in their lineup every day in Spring Training.
Manager Ron Washington received a memorandum from the Commissioner's Office reminding him of that after the Marlins complained about the Red Sox lineup last Thursday in Florida. Washington did not need to the reminder.
Washington plans out his Spring Training lineups so that he staggers the playing time of his starters. Fielder got the day off on Friday when the Rangers played at the Dodgers but made the trip to Peoria. Adrian Beltre was off on Sunday but will play the next three days, including a road game on Tuesday against the White Sox.
"We try to be accommodating," Washington said. "If they have to remind you too much, you're going to get a letter with some numbers [a fine] and they're not pretty numbers. I want to make sure I give my guys rest they don't leave here tired."
• Infielder Brent Lillibridge, sidelined with a jammed thumb on his right hand, has been cleared for baseball activities but is still not ready to play in a game.
• Derek Holland has begun to play catch, two months after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee. Holland arrived in camp on Saturday.
• Joe Saunders will get his first Cactus League start on Tuesday against the White Sox in Glendale. He follows Yu Darvish, who starts on Monday against the Reds in Surprise.
• Mariners third-base coach Rich Donnelly twice tested the Rangers outfield on Sunday and got burned when he tried to score runners from second base. Center fielder Leonys Martin threw out Michael Saunders in the third and right fielder Michael Choice did the same on Brad Miller in the fourth.
• Darren Oliver is back in camp serving as a special instructor.
• Engel Beltre went into Sunday's game as a reserve. It was his first time in a game since last Monday as he had been dealing with shin splints. But he lost a fly ball in the sun in the eighth inning and it dropped for a game-tying double.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.