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Braves designate Bartolo for assignment

Left-handed reliever Brothers promoted from Triple-A
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- When Braves general manager John Coppolella and manager Brian Snitker met with Bartolo Colon late Wednesday night at Petco Park, they knew it was in the team's best interest to part ways with the 44-year-old pitcher, who spent the past three months verifying the fact that age eventually catches up with everybody.

But it still wasn't easy for them to bid adieu to Colon, who was officially designated for assignment on Thursday. Left-handed reliever Rex Brothers was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill the vacated roster spot.

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SAN DIEGO -- When Braves general manager John Coppolella and manager Brian Snitker met with Bartolo Colon late Wednesday night at Petco Park, they knew it was in the team's best interest to part ways with the 44-year-old pitcher, who spent the past three months verifying the fact that age eventually catches up with everybody.

But it still wasn't easy for them to bid adieu to Colon, who was officially designated for assignment on Thursday. Left-handed reliever Rex Brothers was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill the vacated roster spot.

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Teams won't be lining up to make a waiver claim or trade for Colon, who produced an 8.14 ERA over 13 starts. Thus, the expectation is that he'll be released after spending the required 10 days in limbo.

"Yeah, it's tough, especially with a guy like that," Snitker said. "He's such a quality and classy teammate. It's never easy. He got it. He's been around and knows what's going on. But it's one of those parts of the job that's not fun."

The meeting with Snitker and Coppolella occurred shortly after Colon had allowed the Padres six earned runs over four innings in a courtesy start that followed a three-week stint on the disabled list. Even if the right-hander had pitched effectively, there was not a vacant rotation spot for him and the team did not feel it would be productive to move him to the bullpen.

"I don't know if putting [Colon] in the bullpen would have been the answer," Snitker said. "I wish he'd have gone seven innings and not given up any runs, really. It would have been a good problem to have."

Colon was placed on the DL on June 6 with what was termed a left oblique strain. During the three weeks he was sidelined, the Braves found some consistency within a rotation that now includes rookie Sean Newcomb, who has flourished in Colon's absence.

Newcomb's early success can be attributed to the extra time he gained to develop, because the Braves spent $32.5 million this offseason to gain one-year arrangements with Colon, R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia, a trio of veteran hurlers who allowed the club to avoid rushing any of their young pitching prospects to the Majors.

"It's always tough when you have to push young arms ahead of their timetable," Coppolella said. "That has happened in the past here, and we didn't do any favors to our players. So we're trying our best not to do it again."

Along with buying Newcomb more time, Colon also provided valuable guidance to Mike Foltynewicz, who has taken strides toward legitimizing himself as a front-line starter. But at the end of the day, the Braves could not continue to provide starts to a pitcher who has posted a 10.38 ERA over his past nine starts.

Once Colon passes through waivers, there's a chance a team might be willing to sign him at the cost of the prorated portion of the Major League minimum. But at this stage of his career, it's hard to imagine interest will come from any team other than the Mets, who over the past few years saw the pitcher become a favorite among fans and players.

"Father Time is going to catch up with you some time and unfortunately, it was with us," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "Hopefully, he gets another chance. It's just one of those things. It didn't work out for us, but he was a great teammate."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Bartolo Colon