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Braves to reevaluate scuffling Colon's role

Snitker doesn't commit to veteran making next scheduled start
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- The Braves made Bartolo Colon their most significant offseason investment with the expectation that the reliable veteran would stabilize their pitching staff and enrich their clubhouse with his fun-loving personality. But two months into this season, there isn't anything cute about a $12.5 million investment in a 44-year-old pitcher who is on the brink of being removed from the starting rotation.

The Braves have had reasons to remain patient over the past few weeks, but they may have reached their breaking point, as Colon surrendered eight earned runs over just 3 2/3 innings in Monday night's 11-4 loss to the Phillies at SunTrust Park.

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ATLANTA -- The Braves made Bartolo Colon their most significant offseason investment with the expectation that the reliable veteran would stabilize their pitching staff and enrich their clubhouse with his fun-loving personality. But two months into this season, there isn't anything cute about a $12.5 million investment in a 44-year-old pitcher who is on the brink of being removed from the starting rotation.

The Braves have had reasons to remain patient over the past few weeks, but they may have reached their breaking point, as Colon surrendered eight earned runs over just 3 2/3 innings in Monday night's 11-4 loss to the Phillies at SunTrust Park.

View Full Game Coverage

Braves manager Brian Snitker would not commit to Colon making his next scheduled turn during Saturday's doubleheader against the Mets. But for the first time, he did at least indicate that there's a distinct possibility the veteran pitcher's role could change.

"We're going to think about it going forward," Snitker said. "I haven't made a decision yet about the next one. We'll just see."

Video: PHI@ATL: Colon fans Saunders in the 1st inning

As the Braves weigh a number of financial and performance variables, they must account for the fact that they were already going to have to promote one pitcher to start one game of Saturday's twin bill. Because they'll be able to add a 26th player during the day, they could opt to promote both Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler from Triple-A Gwinnett to start the opposite ends of the doubleheader.

Or they could simply choose to stick with Colon, whose Major League-worst 7.78 ERA has steadily increased after following his finest two outings through his first three starts of the season. Over his past eight starts, he has produced a 10.03 ERA and allowed opponents to construct a .380 batting average.

"We're getting ready to play a lot of baseball this week," Snitker said. "We've got to factor in all of those variables in determining how to get through the next nine days [before the Braves' next off-day]."

Colon has allowed eight earned runs or more in two of his past six starts. Before this, he'd done so in just seven of 506 career starts. He also surrendered seven earned runs against the Pirates on May 25, and thus has allowed 15 earned runs over the past 8 2/3 innings pitched at SunTrust Park.

Video: PHI@ATL: Phillies erupt for five runs in the 4th

"Physically and mentally, I still feel good," Colon said through an interpreter. "Right now, I'm just on a bad streak really. I'll just try to work my way out of it. God willing, I can."

The Braves aren't likely going to eat this investment by releasing Colon at this point in the season. They could first opt to put him in the bullpen as a long reliever or possibly place him on the disabled list at some point.

All of the options will be discussed this week. But it is certainly clear that the Braves will have to make other plans besides sending such a struggling pitcher to the mound once every five days for the remainder of the season.

"Whatever decision they make, I'll accept it and follow through with it," Colon said.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Bartolo Colon