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Colon released, but might re-sign with Rangers

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers released pitcher Bartolo Colon from his Minor League contract and are trying restructure a deal with him. There is a possibility Colon could be the Rangers' fifth starter, at least through the first turn of the rotation.

The Rangers are still trying to identify a fifth starter who will pitch on April 2 against the Athletics because Martin Perez is starting the season on the disabled list. Perez is expected to have one more outing in the Minor Leagues and be activated on April 5 to pitch against the Athletics.

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers released pitcher Bartolo Colon from his Minor League contract and are trying restructure a deal with him. There is a possibility Colon could be the Rangers' fifth starter, at least through the first turn of the rotation.

The Rangers are still trying to identify a fifth starter who will pitch on April 2 against the Athletics because Martin Perez is starting the season on the disabled list. Perez is expected to have one more outing in the Minor Leagues and be activated on April 5 to pitch against the Athletics.

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The Rangers are discussing a possible new deal with Colon that might allow him to pitch against the Athletics and then go to Triple-A Round Rock to provide depth. General manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers are trying to work out an arrangement that would preserve their depth and flexibility.

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"We're still working through this," Daniels said.

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The Rangers had to make a decision on Colon by Saturday because they were facing the Article XX-B deadline. They had to either add Colon to the 25-man roster, pay him a $100,000 retention bonus or grant him his release so he could pursue other options.

Colon agreed to a base salary of $1.75 million if he made the team. The Rangers don't want to pay that if Colon is only going to make one start. That's why they are trying to restructure the deal.

Colon stayed with the Rangers on Saturday, worked out with the team and is considering his options. If the Rangers are able to work out a new Minor League deal with Colon, they could hold off activating him until the fifth game. That would allow them to start the season with four bench players and eight relievers. The result would be both utility player Drew Robinson and reliever Jose Leclerc making the Opening Day roster.

Colon made five starts for the Rangers this spring, finishing with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Over 18 innings, he allowed 19 hits, walked two and struck out 10. He enters the season with 240 career wins. He is three behind Juan Marichal for the most wins by a pitcher from the Dominican Republic and five behind Nicaragua's Dennis Martinez for most ever by a Latin American.

"He is a big league pitcher who knows how to pitch," manager Jeff Banister said. "It's not anything we haven't seen before … the ability to change speeds and throw the fastball where he wants to throw it. Inside the clubhouse he was exceptional."

Perez is finishing his recovery from a broken bone in the tip of his right elbow. He has made two starts in the spring and the Rangers want him to make one more. Perez will likely throw a simulated game at Triple-A Round Rock on Friday.

"He said he would be ready [to start the season] and he is just about there," Daniels said. "It is more of an abundance of caution on our part to give him another outing. His mindset is impressive. He is in a great spot. He is an emotional guy, but we have seen a different level of maturity."

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