ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — From across the diamond, Kansas City closer Kelvin Herrera marveled at the oldest player in the major leagues — Texas pitcher Bartolo Colon, who turned 45 Thursday.
“I used to have pictures of him in my bedroom,” Herrera recalled of his countryman, from his teenage days in the Dominican Republic. “He was my idol.”
Colon is pitching for his 11th big league club, having signed a minor league free-agent contract with Texas during spring training. He has made 10 appearances with the Rangers, including eight starts, and is 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA.
Colon’s 242 career wins rank 55th all time. He’s one win short of tying Juan Marichal for the most career victory for a pitcher from the Dominican Republic.
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“He’s 45 and he’s pitching and he does it very well,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Colon’s practice is to speak to the media only after his starts. He’s scheduled to start Saturday night against the Royals.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 280 pounds, Colon was given the nickname “Big Sexy” by Mets teammate Noah Syndergaard.
“I know that he keeps himself in much greater shape that most everybody thinks,” Banister said.
“There’s a certain grace about him that you just don’t expect, and humility that’s just off the charts. I walk into the dugout after I’ve taken him out of the game, and every time he thanks me,” he said.
Colon’s first win for Texas was a 3-1 victory at Houston on April 15 in which he took a perfect game into the eighth inning before allowing a walk to Carlos Correa and a double to Josh Reddick.
Rangers teammate Mike Minor, 15 years younger, notes that Colon has mastered one pitch — the sinker.
“He keeps throwing it over and over,” Minor said. “It’s not as easy as it sounds.”