NEW YORK – Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis is the first player to go on Major League Baseball's paternity leave list.
A player can be on the new list for 24 to 72 hours. Lewis' wife, Jenny, gave birth to daughter Elizabeth Grace on Wednesday in Bakersfield, Calif.
Lewis is expected to rejoin the Rangers on Monday and take his next start Tuesday night at home against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Rangers made the move before Friday night's game against the New York Yankees and recalled left-hander Michael Kirkman from Triple-A Round Rock. Texas didn't want to be caught short of pitchers this weekend after long reliever Dave Bush made a spot start this week.
Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux applauded MLB's move to create the paternity list this year.
"I don't know why we didn't have it before. I've longed for the day we would," Maddux said. "We have the bereavement list and to some, this is for something that's even more sacred."
Lewis is 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts this season. He last pitched Saturday in Baltimore.
The 31-year-old righty went 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA last season, then excelled in the postseason. Lewis twice beat the Yankees with sharp efforts in the AL championship series and posted Texas' only win over San Francisco in the World Series.
Kirkman is 0-1 with a 16.20 ERA in two starts for Round Rock this year. He made his major league debut last season and spent the final six weeks with Texas, going 0-0 with a 1.65 ERA in 14 relief appearances.