River Cats' Ace Lewis To Start For A's Tues.

Cut by the Washington Nationals, right-hander Colby Lewis was signed by the Oakland A's to a minor league contract during the waning days of spring training. Lewis was far down the A's depth chart when he signed, but a fast start to the season has pushed him to the top of the A's Triple-A list. Lewis will make his first start for Oakland on Tuesday in Chicago.

In a season that has seen the Oakland A's lean heavily on the rosters of the Sacramento River Cats and the Midland Rockhounds, a new call-up to the big league team is old news for the A's. When Colby Lewis takes the mound in Chicago on Tuesday, he will join Dallas Braden, Connor Robertson, Ron Flores, Jack Cust, Danny Putnam and Hiram Bocachica as minor league players called up and thrust into the A's starting line-up in 2007.

Lewis has been the strongest member of the Sacramento River Cats' rotation all season. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 50.2 innings for the River Cats this season. He has struck out 47 and walked only 14 over that span. He has held PCL batters to a .203 batting average.

Lewis comes to the A's with a decent amount of major league experience. He set a dubious major league record in 2003 when he posted a 7.30 ERA while winning 10 games for the Texas Rangers, becoming the pitcher with the highest ERA with 10 wins or more in baseball history. Lewis made 26 starts for Texas that season, but was injured after three starts the following year and wound up having rotator cuff surgery. He would miss most of 2004 and 2005.

The Detroit Tigers signed Lewis in 2006 and he made only two appearances at the major league level, spending most of the season in Triple-A Toledo. He signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals this off-season and was expected to compete for one of the Nationals' open rotation slots. He struggled during the spring and was cut before the end of camp. The A's picked him up on a minor league deal during the spring's final week.

Lewis features four pitches, including a low-to-mid-90s fastball, an above-average curveball, a slider and a change-up. He has struggled with his command during his major league career. In 179.2 major league innings, Lewis has walked 110 batters against 132 strikeouts. However, his control has been much improved at Triple-A.

It is unknown as of Monday evening who the A's will remove from the active roster to make room for Lewis. The A's might choose to send down either Robertson or Flores or DL injured players Justin Duchscherer or Milton Bradley, both of whom haven't played for a week. Travis Buck, who left Monday night's game with elbow soreness, could also be a candidate for the DL.

The A's are getting close to adding some players back to the active roster. Centerfielder Mark Kotsay made his rehab debut with Sacramento on Monday night and went 1-3 in the River Cats' 5-3 loss. Esteban Loaiza is expected to get the start for the River Cats tomorrow. Both could be back by the start of June. Outfielder Chris Snelling is also expected to begin a rehab assignment in Sacramento soon. He has been hampered by a bone bruise in his left knee.

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