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Rangers mull adding Colon to bullpen

Veteran righty could serve as long/middle reliever, make spot starts
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

OAKLAND -- The Rangers are trying to find a way to hold on to veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon even though they don't have room for him in the rotation.

The Rangers are leaning toward keeping him when Martin Perez is activated off the disabled list Thursday. They are considering the idea of putting Colon in the bullpen as a long/middle reliever and using him as a spot starter when needed.

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OAKLAND -- The Rangers are trying to find a way to hold on to veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon even though they don't have room for him in the rotation.

The Rangers are leaning toward keeping him when Martin Perez is activated off the disabled list Thursday. They are considering the idea of putting Colon in the bullpen as a long/middle reliever and using him as a spot starter when needed.

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Colon gave the Rangers reason to reconsider his status when he held the Athletics to one run in six innings on Monday night. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out four.

"He had a great game, crisp with all his pitches," manager Jeff Banister said. "We've got decisions to make. We've got Perez coming back. When we finalize that, we'll let you know, but we like what we saw. He did a great job."

The Rangers have eight relievers in their bullpen with Jesse Chavez serving as the long man. Jose Leclerc could be optioned to Triple-A if the Rangers want to make room for Colon.

If the Rangers take Colon off the roster, he would have to clear outright waivers before being assigned to Triple-A Round Rock. He could also refuse the assignment and take his free agency.

A final decision won't be made until Thursday when Perez is activated to start against the Athletics.

Robinson opening eyes in CF

Defense is paramount in center field for the Rangers. That's why Drew Robinson opened some eyes in Monday night's 2-1 loss to the A's, when he threw out Jonathan Lucroy trying to score from second on a single in the fifth inning.

The game was tied at the moment, so it could have been a pivotal play.

Video: TEX@OAK: Robinson nabs Lucroy with perfect throw home

"Obviously the end result was an out and it erased a run," Banister said. "He got to the ball quickly, quick release, strong throw. We've seen that from him in drills preparing to play out there. When you have to make throws under pressure like that, you get a few more stars."

Robinson started in center field for the third straight game on Tuesday, as the Rangers try to carry on without Delino DeShields, who is sidelined for four to six weeks while recovering from hand surgery.

Robinson has shown he can handle multiple positions in the infield and outfield, but Tuesday was only his sixth start in center in the Major Leagues. He made 31 starts in the Minor Leagues. The Rangers still see progress and believe he can handle it.

The Rangers had a chance to claim outfielder Trayce Thompson off waivers from the Dodgers and passed. The Yankees claimed him instead. The Rangers want to see if Robinson can handle the role while DeShields is out.

"I don't think we are starting at ground zero with Drew," Banister said. "He has worked out there, played there in Triple-A and has the skillset to play out there. There is going to be a learning curve, but the more [fly balls] he sees, the more direct his routes will be."

That is the part that requires experience, getting good jumps and taking direct routes to fly balls.

"I think the outfield is a more natural position for me," Robinson said. "The more time I get out there, the more comfortable I am going to be. I honestly think my jumps and routes are going to get better because I'm an instinctual player. I think I can get better with my instincts."

Hamels no trade clause

Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels can block trades to all but nine teams, sources told MLB.Com's Jon Paul Morosi. The nine teams not on his no-trade list are the Mariners, Cardinals, Nationals, Astros, Cubs, Phillies, Braves, Royals and Rays.

The clause could become relevant this summer if the Rangers fall out of contention. Hamels is signed through this season at $22.5 million and the Rangers have a $20 million option for next season with a $6 million buyout.

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has the right to veto any trade proposal. He is a free agent after the season and has the full veto through 10-and-5, meaning he has at least 10 years of service time, including the last five with the same club.

Rangers beat 

• Colon has pitched for 11 teams, including a record eight in the American League.

• The Rangers have lost six straight road openers. They have also lost 16 of their last 19 in the first road game of a season.

• Reliever Tony Barnette, on the disabled list because of tightness in his lower back, is expected to begin a medical rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Frisco. 

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Bartolo Colon, Drew Robinson