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Colon's role in bullpen won't be defined

Special to MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Though the overwhelming majority of his Major League appearances have been starts -- 98.3 percent, to be exact -- Bartolo Colon will be a reliever until the Rangers need him back in the rotation, manager Jeff Banister said Friday.

Whether he is used in a traditional long-man role or in other situations remains to be seen, however.

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ARLINGTON -- Though the overwhelming majority of his Major League appearances have been starts -- 98.3 percent, to be exact -- Bartolo Colon will be a reliever until the Rangers need him back in the rotation, manager Jeff Banister said Friday.

Whether he is used in a traditional long-man role or in other situations remains to be seen, however.

View Full Game Coverage

"He can give us outs, he can give us innings -- there's no doubt he knows how to go out and get three outs, six outs, nine outs," Banister said of the 44-year-old right-hander. "The luxury is that he can go long for us."

Only nine of Colon's 538 career MLB appearances came in relief, but he did briefly pitch out of the bullpen with the Mets in 2015-16 and with the Yankees in '11.

"He's a pretty resilient guy -- he's been in these type of situations before," Banister said. "I think he's pretty educated on what he can do and how he needs to do it. You don't get this far without that. And he's done this; this is not new to him."

The reality for the Rangers and Colon is that he has a strong chance of being a starter again for them at some point; although the current rotation of Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Martin Perez, Matt Moore and Mike Minor is intact and healthy, the Rangers have used at least 11 starters in each of the past six seasons, largely due to injuries.

Video: TEX@OAK: Colon limits A's to one run over six innings

Even if it was his only start for a while, Colon's Rangers debut in Oakland on Monday turned heads. He allowed one earned run in six innings and continued to impress his teammates, catcher Robinson Chirinos said.

"Now, being behind the plate, as a guy who faced Bartolo in the past hitting, his ball moves so much," Chirinos said. "Your eyes, at some point they think it's going to be outside the strike zone and it just comes back to that corner for a strike. That's why he's been in the game for so long. He throws strikes, he gets ahead of people, he makes guys swing the bat, and when you do that, you're going to have success in the big leagues."

Chirinos returns after wrist injury

Back in the lineup Friday after hurting his left wrist on a tag at the plate Wednesday night, Chirinos said he felt well enough that he didn't need an X-ray and shrugged off the latest bit of wear and tear as "part of life to be a catcher."

"It seems like it happens all the time, those foul tips, those plays at the plate," Chirinos said. " If you look around the big leagues, all the catchers, they go through the same things I go through."

Chirinos, 33, is a seven-year veteran but has never played more than 93 games in a season. Friday was his seventh start in the Rangers' ninth game of the season.

Video: TEX@OAK: Chirinos shaken up following tag at home

Catcher Nicholas dealt

The Rangers on Friday traded catcher Brett Nicholas to the Padres for a player to be named or cash considerations. Nicholas, 29, played in 36 games for the Rangers in 2016 and '17. He was a candidate for the backup catcher job that went to Juan Centeno at the end of Spring Training, when Nicholas was designated for assignment to make room for pitcher Tim Lincecum on the 40-man roster.

Banister assesses Jays rivalry

Banister was asked in his pregame media session whether the Rangers and Blue Jays still had a special rivalry after facing each other in the American League Division Series in 2015 and '16, and engaging in a notorious fracas two years ago. The manager drew laughs with the euphemism he used to describe the day when Rougned Odor punched Jose Bautista in the face and both benches emptied for an extended scuffle near second base.

"All the storylines -- the playoffs, the 'conversation' we had in the middle of the field here -- it's fun," Banister said. "How about two fanbases being able to have that? … It's great for fans. I love that part of it, it's fun, it gives energy to the game."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com.

Texas Rangers, Bartolo Colon