Most pro baseball players at the age of Bartolo Colon would be ready for the rocking chair or the golf course. They would have nothing left to prove.
But that is where Colon is different. He is not a guy that is hanging on for one more big pay day. The pudgy right-handed pitcher, officially listed at 5-foot-11 and 285 pounds, is still a contributor.
He still has a curveball, a slider and a sneaky fastball. Colon still maintains some gamesmanship. He still feels like he can go out to the pitching hill every fourth or fifth day and give his team a chance to win.
Colon can still get batters out. He can still win games. He won 15 with the Mets last year to go along with a 3.43 earned run average and 128 strikeouts.
And this spring as a member of the Atlanta Braves, Colon expects to win a starting position in the pitching rotation. Atlanta is counting on him for innings, leadership and wins. Colon, the Dominican dandy, is showing no signs of slowing down.
He is an investment for the Braves and someone who could help the Braves make a playoff push this season. Colon is 43 years old, and he acts like he’s 23. He is full of vim, vigor and fight. He is a confident veteran, and he is a guy who plays his position well despite his 285 pounds.
Colon is an athlete, even at that weight. God bless the donuts. This season, Colon will play with his ninth Major League baseball team. He has already logged innings and victories with the Indians, Expos, White Sox, Angels, Athletics, Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.
He is just as excited to be a Braves pitcher of fortune and fanfare this year. Colon will make $12.5 million on his one-year contract with Atlanta. He has already won 233 games and struck out 2,365 batters in his Big League career.
Colon expects to put up some more tidy numbers this season with the Braves. And on May 24 the Braves right-hander will turn 44 years old. But that is just a number, and Colon is certainly more than just another roster player for Atlanta.
Colon hopes to be an Eastern Division champion and maybe even an All-Star this season. Atlanta’s Colon has been an All-Star four times so far in his illustrious career.
The Braves are happy to have the swagger of Bartolo Colon.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer