ARLINGTON -- After 528 Major League starts, Bartolo Colon will get at least one more. The Rangers announced Monday they had re-signed him to a Minor League contract and plan to use him in a spot start April 2 in Oakland.Colon started five Cactus League games for the Rangers, posting
ARLINGTON -- After 528 Major League starts, Bartolo Colon will get at least one more. The Rangers announced Monday they had re-signed him to a Minor League contract and plan to use him in a spot start April 2 in Oakland.
Colon started five Cactus League games for the Rangers, posting a 3.00 ERA in 18 innings, with two walks and 10 strikeouts. The club released Colon on Friday in a procedural move with the expectation that they could come to another agreement. Texas also announced infielder Trevor Plouffe had re-signed to a Minor League deal; both Colon and Plouffe have been assigned to Triple-A Round Rock for now.
Colon was originally signed by Texas to a Minor League contract on Feb. 4.
"He's a veteran guy; you know what you're going to get," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Monday before the Rangers' 6-5 win over the Reds. "He's going to throw strikes, keep guys off-balance."
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Daniels said the Rangers are trying to keep starter Mike Minor on a six-day turn, which opens the door for Colon, 44, to resume his status as the oldest player in the Majors, however briefly.
"[Minor] hasn't started in a couple years, obviously had the shoulder [injury] a couple years ago, so early on, we're going to be smart about it and be cautious," Daniels said. "To line that up with the off-days, we really need only a spot starter one time early on to be able to do that."
Daniels said the plan is to start Colon in Oakland on April 2, and there's no set plan after that. Daniels said the club did not discuss with Colon the possibility of him pitching in the Minors, and there is no guarantee he would stay with the Rangers beyond the spot start.
"Let's get through that and we'll see," Daniels said.
Colon has won 240 games over 20 Major League seasons with 10 different teams. In 2017, he combined to go 7-14 with a 6.48 ERA in 28 starts with Atlanta and Minnesota. Colon was released on July 4 after going 2-8 in 13 starts with the Braves before signing with the Twins three days later. He went 5-6 in 15 starts for Minnesota, including 4-2 with a 3.42 ERA over a span of 8 starts from July 30-Sept. 5.
"I've seen him since '95, I've seen the progression from a guy who just blew hitters away to now [having] the ability to move the fastball around and change speeds," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He gets hitters out by being as smart as he can."
Colon leads all pitchers who saw Major League action in 2017 with 240 wins and is second in innings (3,315 1/3) and strikeouts (2,454) behind the Yankees' Carsten Sabathia. He has a 240-176 record and 4.04 ERA in 537 games (528 starts) with the Indians (1997-2002), Expos (2002), White Sox (2003, 2009), Angels (2004-07), Red Sox (2008), Yankees (2011), A's (2012-13), Mets (2014-16), Braves (2017), and Twins (2017). He is a four-time All-Star and was the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2005, when he went 21-8 with the Angels.
Plouffe was originally signed on Feb. 12 and batted .194 (6-for-31) with one home run in 13 Cactus League games for the Rangers before he was released on Friday. Plouffe batted .198 with 9 home runs and 19 RBIs in 100 games combined for the A's and Rays in 2017. A first-round Draft pick by the Twins in 2004, Plouffe spent his first seven big league seasons with the Twins (2010-16). He has hit 105 home runs in 823 MLB games.
Fister effective in final spring outing
Rangers right-hander Doug Fister allowed one earned run on one hit and a walk and struck out two Monday in his last spring tuneup.
"It's right where I want to be," Fister said. "I had some issues there with that walk, but I think I'm in a good spot. Today I was able to command the zone but also expand it when I needed to. I think that's a big deal. Going into the season, it's a fine mix of being able to do both."
Fister had a 6.10 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this spring prior to Monday.
"Veteran guys, they're finding the feel and range with all of their pitches," Banister said of Fister's early struggles. "It was nice to see the rhythm, the feel. The first inning he went out and just dominated with the sinker."
• Banister said he has been in communication with Minor League assistant coach Howard Johnson, who suffered facial fractures when he was hit by a foul ball Saturday. Johnson was hospitalized overnight and will not require surgery, the team said.
"Our thoughts are with HoJo and his family," Banister said. "It was a pretty upsetting thing to watch. However, I've exchanged some texts with him, pretty light-hearted."
• Wins and losses don't matter much in Spring Training, but the Rangers' 22 losses are a franchise record. Daniels acknowledged that the organization's current lack of depth didn't help.
"The highest concentration of talent in our farm system is [Class A Advanced]." Daniels said. "There are some players who are going to help us in [Double-A] Frisco, some players who are going to help us in [Triple-A] Round Rock, but the concentration isn't as high as you want it to be, and I think that certainly played into the record."
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Texas.