Colon the last remaining Expos player

March 4th, 2016

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Maicer Izturis' retirement announcement Friday came with one notable side effect: Bartolo Colon, 42 years young, is now the only remaining former Expos player in the Majors.

Colon spent just half a season in Montreal in 2002, three years before the Expos relocated to Washington. But most of the other stars from that team -- Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Vidro and Andres Galarraga, to name three -- have long since retired.

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Not Colon, whose career arced from Montreal to Chicago, Anaheim and Boston, back to Chicago, then onward to the Bronx, Oakland and Flushing. Colon enters this season as the Mets' fifth starter, and without any designs on retiring soon.

"I'm just taking it year by year," Colon said recently. "I knew that I wanted to be back this year. Next year, we'll see what happens."

When told Friday that he is now the game's lone remaining Expo, Colon grinned.

"Really?" he said. "Cool."

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Blevins back: Friday marked more than just the usual Grapefruit League debut for reliever Jerry Blevins, who twice broke his arm last summer, appearing in only seven games. Blevins allowed two hits and an unearned run in the fifth inning of the Mets' 4-4 tie with the Marlins, though he coaxed a routine ground ball out of the only left-handed batter he faced.

"I'm in one piece, so that's a win," Blevins said, laughing. "I'm excited to be a pitcher again."

Blevins is one of five pitchers all but guaranteed spots in the Mets' Opening Day bullpen.

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Turning two: Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and second baseman Neil Walker did not have to wait long to test their double-play chemistry in a game. Mere moments after both trotted out to the field for their Mets debuts Friday, Walker and Cabrera turned an inning-ending double play on a Christian Yelich grounder.

"That was big," Cabrera said. "We've been working the last few days in Spring Training. He's a great second baseman. We know what we have to do."

Walker indicated that adapting to Major League Baseball's new slide rules around second base may prove more difficult than growing comfortable with a new double-play partner.

"Each of us has our tendencies, where we like the ball and where we tend to throw the ball," Walker said. "Unfortunately, the new rules at second base are going to keep us pretty much standing pat on top of the bag for the most part, so we can't be moving too much across the bag with our throws or with our underhand feeds. … That kind of makes it a challenge."