The Atlanta Braves placed veteran starting pitcher Bartolo Colon on the ten-day disabled list with a strained left oblique.
Veteran starting pitcher Bartolo Colon is on his way to the ten-day disabled list. According to Zach Dillard of FOX Sports, an oblique injury led the Atlanta Braves to make the move. Manager Brian Snitker said that Colon had been pitching through the left oblique strain for “a while.”
Interestingly enough, Dillard notes that Colon has insisted that he has been healthy up until the Braves placed him on the disabled list. Even on Monday night, the starter maintained the stance that everything was okay.
This season has not exactly gotten off to a smooth start for Colon. The 44-year-old allowed an unsightly 51 earned runs through just 59 innings of work. Worse yet, 2017 saw his strikeout rate drop and walk rate rise once again. Whether this is due to age or injury is hard to tell, but odds are that both have played a part in his early-season struggles.
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Colon has a rather unique approach to pitching. Relying almost entirely on his fastball, PITCHf/x reports that 62.8 percent of his pitches have been of the two-seam variety this season. Across his career, he has consistently used fastballs of all kinds for around 80 percent of his pitches. His fastball has generally clocked around 90 miles per hour, and that stayed true this season. It is safe to say that a decrease in velocity did not play a role in his demise.
Perhaps this also leads us to an interesting point. Colon has made his career by effectively pitching to contact with essentially nothing but 90 mph fastballs. This in itself is quite incredible. Remember that teams have been stressing velocity and movement in recent times, looking for young studs who can reach back and unleash a triple-digit heater. Many of these players burn out or are relegated to the bullpen, but here is good ol’ Bartolo Colon making the All-Star Game after 3,000 innings and 19 years of work.
Whether or not Colon will be able to continue what has been a seemingly never-ending career remains to be seen. He has had a good deal of bad luck this year, with an astronomical .353 batting average on balls in play and absurdly low 48.5 percent strand rate. Finding a better defense could go a long way towards rejuvenating his year.
Even if this is the end for the righty, he managed to pitch his way through four different White House administrations. While this may not be a record – Nolan Ryan pitched through seven – it is still an interesting way to measure what has been quite a lengthy career.