LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Nearly two full decades have passed since Bartolo Colon was in position to allow himself to be bothered by a start he made during March's first half. But to his credit, the Braves' 43-year-old hurler didn't try to sugarcoat what he experienced as he retired
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Nearly two full decades have passed since Bartolo Colon was in position to allow himself to be bothered by a start he made during March's first half. But to his credit, the Braves' 43-year-old hurler didn't try to sugarcoat what he experienced as he retired just eight of the 18 batters faced during Monday's 7-6 win over the Pirates at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex.
"What can I say, those guys came in here ready to hit," Colon said through an interpreter "They gave me a hard time, and I didn't really have an opportunity to work on what I wanted to. It's a credit to them. They came ready, and they got the hits off of me."
With Opening Day three weeks away, Colon has time to use each of his final three spring starts to sharpen the command he lacked as the Pirates tagged him for eight hits (seven singles) and five earned runs over three innings. Pirates starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow accounted for two of the eight plate appearances that resulted in an out for Colon.
"He throws the ball over the plate and sometimes that's going to happen," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "That's the last thing I'm going to worry about."
While some pitchers opt to say, "I was just working on things" after experiencing this kind of Spring Training outing, Colon certainly isn't trying to invent anything at this stage of his career. He is what he is, a pitcher whose ability to change speeds and consistently spot pitches allows him to primarily rely on a fastball that tops out at 88 mph.
Thus, Colon just wore what transpired on Monday, after he allowed three straight singles to open the game and then limited his first-inning damage to one run. Adam Frazier and Phil Gosselin both recorded their second singles of the game during a three-run second inning, within which Glasnow's sacrifice bunt accounted for the only out until Elias Diaz grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Colon also uncharacteristically issued consecutive one-out walks in the second inning, including one that Josh Bell drew with the bases loaded. He pitched to a batter with the bases loaded a total of 16 times over the past two seasons combined, and he hasn't issued a bases-loaded walk since 2011.
"I was working on pitch location more than anything, but when you leave it out in the middle like that, anyone can hit it," Colon said. "That's obviously one of the things I'm going to work on."
Colon had allowed four earned runs and six hits over the eight innings he had totaled through the three starts made before Monday.
"I'm not there yet, but the most important thing is I feel good," Colon said. "I think after I get one more start, I'll be where I want to be."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.