Rangers' Lewis could be back sooner than expected

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SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- Colby Lewis could be back in the Texas Rangers' rotation earlier than expected.

Lewis will still miss the start of the season recovering from elbow surgery. But the veteran right-hander will have a spot when he's back, and that could mean whoever begins the season as the fifth starter is only a temporary fill-in.

Lewis is scheduled to throw off a full mound for the first time in seven months Friday, after a planned long-toss session Wednesday.

The pitcher says he feels great, but doesn't want to push things too quickly.

When Lewis had surgery July 27 to repair a torn flexor tendon, he was expected to be out up to a year. Without any setbacks, he could return by the end of May, maybe even sooner.