Friday, October 22, 2010

Colby Lewis: Almost a Nationals Pitcher

Colby Lewis was drafted 38th overall in the 1999 amateur draft by the Texas Rangers. He signed with the Rangers the same month. The then-20 year old was excited to get into the majors, and he would have his first opportunity in 2002. But it never quite worked out for Lewis. In his first two years (2002-03), his ERA was 6.29 and 7.30. He started out the 2004 season well, but that season ended in April with rotator cuff surgery. He was just 25.

Most people will tell you, rotator cuff surgery at that age doesn't bode well for a successful career. After his recovery, Lewis threw just 3 innings for the Detroit Tigers in 2006 as a reliever and was released.

Enter: Jim Bowden and the Nationals. The Nats were desperate for pitching, so Lewis, and around 40 other pitchers, were invited to spring training in Viera in 2007. Lewis was unable to stand out to Bowden and others and was released in March, on the day of his son's birth. (I don't usually link to other articles here, but Dave Sheinin wrote an outstanding article on this for the Post. Check it out.)

After his release, the Oakland A's picked him up, but he only pitched in AAA. In 2008 and 2009, Lewis pitched for the Hiroshima Carp in Japan. He pitched so well, it earned him a 2 year, $5 million contract with the Rangers for 2010-11. So he ended up back with the team that drafted him, and boy were they glad to have him.

On Friday, October 22, 2010, Colby Lewis was the winning pitcher in the game that clinched a World Series appearance for the first time in Texas Rangers history. In the irony of ironies, the Texas Rangers exist only because the Washington Senators moved to Arlington, TX in 1971, depriving DC of a baseball team for the next 34 years. Congratulations to the almost-Nat Colby Lewis and the almost-DC baseball team Texas Rangers on their first World Series appearance.

By my calculation then, the Nationals only have 34 more seasons before they make the Series! I can wait for that...

1 comment:

  1. I was a little miffed at him for taking a swipe at the Nats for releasing him when they did. Say his wife had had life treatening complications and had been in the hospital for weeks. Were they supposed to keep him on the roster all that time? Whatever happened to the idea of doing a guy a favor by cutting him loose as early as possible so he could land elsewhere before the seasons starts?

    He maybe a feel good story for others, but he left a sour taste in my mouth.