Lewis spends day at Rangers Summer Reading Club

Injured pitcher joins broadcaster Nadel at event in Arlington

ARLINGTON -- Rangers right-handed pitcher Colby Lewis has had a little extra free time of late after a right lat strain landed him on the 60-day disabled list on June 25.

On Wednesday afternoon, Lewis used that free time to join Eric Nadel, the Rangers' Ford C. Frick Award-winning radio play-by-play broadcaster, in his latest installment of the Rangers Summer Reading Club at the Southeast Branch Library in Arlington. The Summer Reading Club, in its eighth year in existence, encourages children in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex communities to continue reading during the summer.

Lewis, a native of Bakersfield, Calif., didn't have reading clubs like this when he was growing up. Being able to give back to the community in this form was personal for the 36-year-old right-hander.

"I grew up with a small form of dyslexia and wasn't able to read very well. There wasn't programs going on like Eric's doing to help me progress," Lewis said. "I hope me being here will maybe encourage them a little more to get their nose in there and do a little more reading than I did."

Lewis' presence not only excited the large gathering of children on hand, but also meant a lot to Nadel. He's been the spokesman for the Rangers Summer Reading Club the past couple of years. It's not often he is joined by a Rangers player.

"To have a player interact with the kids is something special," Nadel said. "Some of them really don't understand what it is I do, but they understand what [Lewis] does. So it brings baseball closer to the community."

Nadel read two books to the group of children. Then Lewis fielded questions, ranging from his playing days in Japan to what he's been doing to get back on the field.

Lewis gave the kids something to cheer about when he told them he still plans to return from the disabled list in late August.

Lewis has spent nine seasons with the Rangers over several stints after being drafted by Texas in the first round of the 1999 MLB Draft. During his time in the area, he's never been shy to get involved with the community.

"I've felt like this is my second home. I want to be able to contribute in not only every aspect on the field, but off it," Lewis said. "When I do have down time like this, I do want to spend it with my family. But to be able to come out and help Eric with this program is a big deal."

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.