Lewis enjoying renewed spring in his step

Lewis enjoying renewed spring in his step

SAN FRANCISCO -- No pain, no gain?

Don't tell that to Giants left fielder Fred Lewis, who last year felt pain with nearly every step he took because of a nasty bunion on his right big toe.

Lewis underwent season-ending surgery on Sept. 12, and he reported to training camp with a bounce in his step.

"I feel like I'm a little bit faster than I was last year," Lewis said before Thursday's game against the Brewers. "Right now I'm just happy I'm pain-free."

Last year the toe affected everything Lewis did, from the way he ran to the way he took his stride in the batter's box.

"It affected the way I ran, because I was running on the outside of my foot," he said. "Late [in games] I could feel it in the upper part of my legs. I can tell a big difference. I'm just happy I had the surgery."

So are the Giants, who plugged Lewis into the third slot in their batting order and are hoping for a big season from the young, promising hitter. Lewis entered Thursday's game hitting .333.

Lewis isn't taking any chances this year, wearing a protective guard on his right foot when he hits. On Wednesday night he actually was hit by a pitch on his right big toe.

"I'm just happy that I had that guard to protect it and to take away some of the pain," he said. "That guard is just there to protect it and keep it from getting inflamed."

Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.