7:00 p.m. Update: FOX Sports Southwest's Anthony Andro tweets that Lewis will not undergo Tommy John surgery, but will instead undergo surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. The procedure will be performed later this week and, as already reported, will end his 2012 season. I'm not well-versed enough in baseball medicine to know whether Lewis will be looking at being down and out for around a year (as he probably would be if he underwent UCL surgery), or if the recovery timetable is shorter/longer where the flexor tendon is concerned. For what it's worth, Ben Sheets has undergone flexor-tendon surgery twice in his career, including back in 2009 when it seemed as though we spent most of the winter obsessing over him, so there's that loose tie-in from the past.
6:15 p.m. Update: The worst-case scenario just materialized on Lewis, as ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett is reporting that Lewis has a torn ligament in his pitching arm and will be out for the remainder of the 2012 season. There's no further word on the exact nature of the injury at this point, but something clearly went from bad to worse on the diagnosis front in a hurry, and I won't be shocked if he ends up missing some or most or all of the 2013 season as well. This also eliminates any chance of extending a qualifying offer to Lewis after the season -- which would have been in the vicinity of $12-13 million for one year -- and possibly netting draft-pick compensation if/when he declined for a more lucrative, longer-running offer.
This is terrible news, and, more than anything else, I just feel really awful for Lewis, who put in so much hard work to get to this point and will now be forced to helplessly cheer his teammates on from the bench. And, from the standpoint of the Rangers, this is a huge kick to the gut, as their tentative post-season rotation now comprises Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, and I guess two of Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, and Roy Oswalt -- a group that is still very capable of getting you to the post-season, but looks substantially less formidable in a five- or seven-game series than it did before Lewis's name was eliminated from the mix.
With Lewis down and out, and with a lot of uncertainty present in the starting rotation beyond the No. 2 spot, I feel like the chances of the Rangers going out and swinging a trade for a front-line starting pitcher have just markedly improved. I certainly won't go so far as to suggest that they're going to panic and make a move bred purely from desperation (such as, say, moving Jurickson Profar for a rent-an-ace), but it's getting really hard now to envision them not doing something big in response to what has just transpired, and in light of their current in-house menu of options.
In the interest of completeness, I have included the original Lewis post from earlier this afternoon below.
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We kind of suspected that something like this might be coming, and, unfortunately, it has indeed materialized, as the Rangers have announced this afternoon that they are once again placing Colby Lewis on the 15-day disabled list with right forearm tendinitis (retroactive to July 19th), and are recalling rookie southpaw Martin Perez from Triple-A Round Rock. Lewis will reportedly be examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister tonight, and I suppose at some point we'll hear about what the exam revealed, how severe this reaggravation is, and how long he might end up being out.
This is pretty cruddy timing for both the player and the team, as Lewis is in a contract year and looking to secure a deal that will take care of him and his family for the rest of their lives, and the Rangers' starting rotation isn't as good without Lewis, who pitched like a borderline All-Star during the first half of the season and still figures to be one of the Rangers' four playoff starters -- provided, of course, that they make it to October. You can do much worse than Perez as a stopgap measure, but he's young and he's going to make mistakes, and I doubt that the Rangers have the inclination to make him a rotation fixture if Lewis should end up being out for an extended period of time.
Now, obviously, there's nothing here that strongly hints at Lewis being out for an extended period of time; forearm injuries are troubling and all of that, and he underwent shoulder surgery twice during the 2004-05 window, but he logged 200-plus innings in each of the last two seasons (and 175-plus innings in each of his two NPB seasons back in 2008-09), and notwithstanding his degenerative hip condition, Lewis has been a remarkably healthy over this last handful of years. That, more than anything else, is what leads you to hope that this is just another temporary setback ... that Lewis can make it back in just a couple of weeks, and be good to go for the stretch run. If this is a more serious situation brewing with Lewis, though, that's something that's going to furrow a lot of brows within the organization, and likely set some contingency plans into motion.
In tangentially related news, we don't have anything new on Roy Oswalt or his sketchy lower back. I can't decide whether no news is good news where Oswalt is concerned or not.