Somewhere in Colby Lewis' scrapbook of baseball memories, I'm sure there's a nice picture of him in a Nationals' uniform.
The big righthander who was so solid for the Texas Rangers down the stretch and in the first two rounds of the playoffs - and who will try to keep his team from falling into a 3-zip hole in the World Series against the Giants Saturday night - spent part of spring training 2007 with the Nats. He'd signed a minor league contract with the club in November of 2006, following big league time with the Rangers and Tigers. Sure, he'd won 10 games with Texas in 2003, but did so with a 7.30 ERA. Detroit had claimed him on waivers and he'd struggled there as well. The Nats had nothing to lose, and took a look. Alas, he didn't impress, and was released on March 19, 2007.
Five days later he signed with Oakland and got into 26 games - 1 start - with the A's, going 0-2, 6.45. He was waived to the Royals that fall who kept him for a month and released him so he could go to Japan.
The rest of the story you've heard before. In Japan, a breaking ball league, he refined his off-speed stuff, found great command, and after 2 seasons in the Far East, the Rangers - who had drafted him in the first round in 1999 - gave him another shot.
It's another lesson in why you never want to completely give up on a pitching prospect, and why playing a season or two in Japan while you're still in your 20's can pay off big-time while you're still in your prime.