Rangers pitcher will miss the rest of the season

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Rangers pitcher will miss the rest of the season

From Comcast SportsNet
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis will miss the rest of the season because of a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. Lewis was evaluated by team physician Dr. Keith Meister before Monday's game against the Boston Red Sox and elected to have surgery. Meister will perform the operation this week and Lewis is expected to be sidelined for nine to 12 months. "It's a disappointment," he said. "Not only to me, but to my family, my teammates and the organization." Texas manager Ron Washington called Lewis the team's "anchor." "You always knew what you'd get when you put Colby Lewis out there, and it's usually pretty great," Washington said. Lewis is 6-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts this season. The right-hander has been a key member of a steady rotation that's helped Texas win consecutive AL pennants the past two years. He is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in eight postseason starts. The Rangers put Lewis on the disabled list Monday and recalled rookie left-hander Martin Perez. Lewis was on the disabled list from June 24 to July 17 with right forearm tendinitis. He made one start after returning, allowing one run and three hits over five innings in Oakland last Wednesday. Lewis said he felt good for three innings during that start but his arm tightened up in the fourth and fifth. "I didn't want to push it. I didn't want everything to pop," Lewis said, adding that an MRI before he went on the DL in June revealed a small tear. Lewis, who turns 33 next month, was Texas' opening-day starter this year. He won at least 12 games and reached 200 innings each of the past two seasons. The Rangers had another pitching injury Monday when Roy Oswalt missed his scheduled start because of back stiffness. Scott Feldman came out of the bullpen to start. Lewis was scheduled to pitch the second game of the series against Boston. Unless he's needed in relief Monday night, Perez will start in Lewis' place Tuesday. Perez made his major league debut for the Rangers this month and was recalled five days after being sent to Triple-A Round Rock. He is 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA in four appearances for Texas, including two starts. "I was told that I did what they expected of me. I didn't get mad because they sent me down," Perez said through a translator. With Lewis out for the season and Oswalt ailing, the AL West leaders must quickly evaluate what moves they might want to make before the July 31 trade deadline. Fellow starters Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland have all spent time on the DL this season. Texas reliever Alexi Ogando, who has started in the past, recently came off the disabled list. General manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers have been "monitoring the market." "We've had guys out there looking and had conversations with clubs," Daniels said. Daniels said Feliz has at least two more scheduled starts for Triple-A Round Rock. Holland is slated to pitch Wednesday against Boston. Oswalt was examined by Dr. Mike McCann on Monday in Houston, where he received an injection in his lower back. According to a Rangers spokesman, Oswalt is optimistic that he will return for his next scheduled outing Sunday against the Chicago White Sox. Ogando came back last Tuesday and has pitched three innings in four games out of the bullpen. Daniels said he could be a candidate to be moved into the starting rotation. Lewis had Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm in high school and right shoulder surgery in 2004. "(Losing Lewis) is a blow for us, but it's something we're going to recover from," Daniels said. "It's an opportunity for someone to step up. I feel bad for Colby, he's been a warrior. He's pitched a ton of innings and he's been such a leader by example." Washington acknowledged that Perez pitched only two innings in his latest minor league appearance Friday night against Omaha because of the concern over Lewis' status. "If he starts (Tuesday), there is no pitch limit. It would just depend on how effective he is," Washington said. "The guy has proved he can pitch here, so we didn't hesitate to bring him back. I told him he would be back when a situation presents itself, and it presented."

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After getting another signature win at Maryland, does any Big Ten team have two better conference wins than Minnesota?

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USA TODAY

After getting another signature win at Maryland, does any Big Ten team have two better conference wins than Minnesota?

Does any Big Ten team have two better conference wins than Minnesota?

The Golden Gophers went on the road and defeated a ranked group of Maryland Terrapins on Wednesday night, and they did so in impressive fashion, scoring an 89-75 victory in College Park.

Team this win with the win at Purdue back on New Year's Day, and there's no better pair of league victories to be found.

More importantly though, the Gophers, at 9-6, are now the No. 4 team in the Big Ten standings.

It's all a part of a quality NCAA tournament resume for the Gophers, who are closer to lock status after Wednesday's win than they are to being on any sort of bubble. With mediocrity running rampant through the Big Ten this season, Richard Pitino's 21-win squad should be well on its way to an appearance in next month's Madness, which would be the program's first since he took over as head coach.

The resume looks pretty strong at this point, especially after Wednesday. Minnesota can now claim wins over Purdue, Maryland and Northwestern — all three of those conference victories coming on the road. In the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Gophers beat Arkansas, the Razorbacks seemingly heading to the tournament themselves. The only loss from the non-conference portion came on the road at Florida State, one of the highest-ranked teams in the country.

So it's safe to say Minnesota will go dancing.

Wednesday's 14-point beatdown of the Terps saw the Gophers shoot 50 percent from the field on the night and 54.5 percent from the field in the second half. Five players scored in double figures: Dupree McBrayer with 18, Nate Mason with 17, Akeem Springs with 16, Jordan Murphy with 15 and Amir Coffey with 13. Minnesota didn't win the rebounding battle but scored 15 points off 10 Maryland turnovers and marched to the free-throw line, going 17-for-20 from the charity stripe while Maryland was just 8-for-13 there.

The second half was a rout, the Gophers outscoring the Terps 55-40 over the final 20 minutes and rattling off two separate 9-0 runs to burst away from the No. 24 team in the country.

The overtime win at Purdue on the first day of 2017 might go down as a bigger win considering the Boilermakers are closing in on the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. That win, too, came by an impressive-enough margin, 91-82. But Minnesota dominated Maryland over the final nine minutes or so and turned in a double-digit victory on the road against a team that lost to that same Purdue team on that same court by just a point two and a half weeks ago.

The Gophers are now on a six-game winning streak and are piling up wins in a fashion that's making them look like one of the Big Ten's finest. A 3-1 start to conference play that extended its overall record to 15-2 was dampened by Minnesota's five-game losing streak that featured losses to higher-echelon teams like Michigan State, Wisconsin and Maryland, plus road losses at Penn State and Ohio State. But since have come six straight wins. While the caliber of opponent hadn't been terribly impressive until Wednesday, the Gophers can now boast nine conference wins. Only three teams have more.

It's now worth watching how high Minnesota can climb in the Big Ten standings before the conference tournament just two weeks from now. If the season ended today, the Gophers would already be in possession of one of those highly coveted two-day byes. But Minnesota is just a game back of Maryland and just two games back of Wisconsin, who the Gophers play in the regular-season finale.

Like Pitino told his team after Wednesday's win: "No more talk about (just making) the NCAA tournament. We're talking about seeds in the NCAA tournament."