ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are close to a new contract with free-agent pitcher Colby Lewis.
The club also received possibly encouraging news on first baseman Mitch Moreland and infielder Jurickson Profar, who are both coming off major injuries this past season. Both underwent an MRI this week and were re-evaluated by Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington.
Lewis made 29 starts for the Rangers this past season after missing 18 months because of flexor tendon and hip replacement surgery. He was 10-14 with a 5.18 ERA. He had a 3.86 ERA over 13 starts in the second half before becoming a free agent after the season. Lewis has made it clear he wants to return to the Rangers, and a new deal is expected to be completed shortly.
The Rangers went into the offseason expressing a desire to upgrade their starting pitching but veered away from that avowed goal to pursue Torii Hunter, who reportedly signed with the Twins on Tuesday.
Moreland, who had left ankle surgery in June, has been cleared for a progressive running program and then will graduate to full baseball activity. Dr. Meister told the Rangers that Moreland should be able to come to Spring Training with no restrictions.
Moreland played in 52 games for the Rangers in 2014 and hit .246 with two home runs and 23 RBIs. Right now, he is the leading candidate to be the Rangers' primary designated hitter.
Meister also told the Rangers that Profar has made "significant progress" in recovering from the torn muscle in his right shoulder. The Rangers are hoping that Profar can start a throwing program in January and might be ready for the start of the regular season. Profar did not play all of this past season because of the injury.
Profar was supposed to be the Rangers' starting second baseman after Ian Kinsler was traded to the Tigers last offseason. But Profar showed up to Spring Training with tendinitis in his shoulder and ended up suffering a torn muscle.
Rougned Odor took over as the Rangers' second baseman, and hit. 259 with nine homers and 48 RBIs in his rookie season. He currently is playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, and is hitting .434 (18-for-48) during a 12-game hitting streak since joining Navegantes del Magallanes.