"We've developed our Pacific Rim operation the last few years, and our guys have built a solid foundation both with relationships and from a scouting perspective," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "I expect we'll be selectively involved with the right players coming over. We're aware of Colby's situation, and obviously know him from when he was in the organization."
Lewis was 11-9 with a 2.96 ERA for Hiroshima in 2009 after going 15-8 with a 2.68 ERA with 183 strikeouts in 178 innings the year before.
Lewis was originally taken by the Rangers as the 38th overall pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft out of Bakersfield Junior College. Kip Fagg, who is now the Rangers' head of amateur scouting, was the original scout who signed Lewis.
Lewis made the Rangers out of Spring Training in 2002 and was 1-3 with a 6.29 ERA in four starts and 11 relief appearances while splitting time between Texas and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
In 2003, Lewis was 10-9 with a 7.30 ERA in 26 starts for the Rangers. That's the fourth-highest ERA posted by a pitcher with at least 25 starts in Major League history and the highest by a Rangers pitcher.
The following season, Lewis made just three starts and was 1-1 with a 4.11 ERA before missing the rest of the season because of shoulder surgery. The Tigers acquired him off outright waivers after the season.
Lewis spent two seasons in the Tigers' organization and pitched in just two games at the Major League level. In 2007, he pitched in 26 games for the Athletics, going 0-2 with a 6.45 ERA, before heading off for Japan for two years.
The Rangers are still in the market for at least one more starting pitcher and have been trying to accumulate as much pitching depth as possible this winter.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.