Lewis aims to return to rotation by September

Right-hander set for final bullpen session before starting rehab assignment

Lewis aims to return to rotation by September

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have a plan to get pitcher Colby Lewis back into the rotation by the first week of September.

Lewis still has some hurdles to overcome, but he remains optimistic after Saturday's 30-pitch bullpen session at Globe Life Park.

"I threw breaking balls and sliders and everything felt great," Lewis said.

The next step will be a 40-pitch bullpen on Tuesday, in which Lewis will "bump up the energy level." Then he will throw live batting practice next weekend during the Rangers' three-game series with the Rays at Tropicana Field.

If Lewis gets through those two sessions, the next step would be a rehabilitation assignment in the Minor Leagues with his first start scheduled for Aug. 24. The Rangers are hoping Lewis will need just two rehab starts before being ready to return to the rotation.

Lewis, on the 60-day disabled list because of a torn muscle in the back of his right shoulder, has not pitched since June 21. Prior to that, he was 6-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts and getting All-Star consideration.

Lewis flirts with no-no

"Just continue what I've been doing," Lewis said. "Keep the same effort level, focus and intensity. I was making pitches, getting quick outs and going deep into games. That has always been my M.O.

"It's a matter of getting the feel back, eating up innings, saving the bullpen in September, keep the lead we have and hitting October."

Derek Holland, on the 60-day disabled list because of inflammation in his left shoulder, is scheduled to make his third rehab start on Monday for Triple-A Round Rock against Salt Lake City. Holland is set to throw 65-70 pitches plus another 20 in the bullpen afterward. Holland is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday, but the Rangers aren't committed to that yet.

Holland strikes out six in win

"He's on the radar, but he's got to get through tomorrow," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He has to be able to get through that outing healthy."

The Rangers also have off-days coming up on Thursday and the following Monday. That allows them to go with just four starters for one turn through the rotation. If so, Holland might get a fourth start in the Minors. The other option would be to insert Holland back into the rotation on Saturday and give everybody extra rest.

Lewis helps Perez

Rangers left-hander Martin Perez has already thrown 20 more innings and made four more starts than any other season in his five-year career, and he has a change in his workout routine to thank for his new-found endurance. 

"I do a lot [exercise] bicycling," Perez said. "I'm not trying to do too much stuff outside because it's hot, and I don't want to get tired. But I feel great."

Perez said Lewis suggested that he try using the exercise bike in Spring Training this season.

Perez pitches into the 6th

"Before I was doing all my running outside, trying to sweat and exercise my legs," Perez said. "Now I go in the weight room and do my bicycle for an hour, hour-and-a-half, and I can feel the change. It's amazing how I feel when I pitch."

The exercise bike has become a regular part of Perez's workouts. He said he was nervous to try it initially because he didn't know how his body was going to respond, and he tries not to mess with his routine during the season.

But he credits the use of the bike for his ability to maintain his velocity deeper into ballgames.

"You guys can see when I'm in the sixth and seventh innings, I'm still able to throw 94-96 [mph]," Perez said. "That's good for me."

Rangers beat

• Reliever Keone Kela went two innings and threw a season-high 37 pitches in Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Tigers, and Banister said, "It was huge for us not to have to use anybody else in the bullpen."

• Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels allowed two runs on 14 hits in seven-plus innings on Saturday. The last Major League pitcher to give up 14-plus hits and as few as two runs in an outing was Montreal's John Dopson on July 3, 1988. He allowed two runs on 15 hits in 8 2/3 innings against the Braves.

• The last pitcher to take a loss in such an outing happened 61 years ago. Frank Lary of the Tigers allowed one run on 14 hits in 8 2/3 innings in a 1-0 loss to the Senators on Sept. 11, 1955.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.