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Rangers sign Bartolo Colon to minor-league deal

Bartolo Colon will battle for the opportunity to pitch in the majors for a 21st season.

Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Rangers have signed veteran starting pitcher Bartolo Colon to a minor-league contract with an invite to major-league spring training, as Jesse Sanchez of first reported on Saturday.

The rotund right-hander, who turns 45 in May, will attempt to pitch a 21st major-league season. While he got off to an extremely disappointing start with the Braves in 2017, posting an 8.14 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP over 13 starts before being released in July, he joined the Twins for the stretch run and was slightly better, throwing for a 5.18 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP in 15 starts. Colon, a four-time All-Star and the 2005 AL Cy Young winner, has posted a 4.04 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP while striking out 2,454 hitters and walking 923 over 3,315.1 career innings.

While it’s certainly possible that Colon’s best days are behind him — he is going to be 45, after all — he might actually be of service to the Rangers, particularly during the season’s early weeks. Martin Perez isn’t expected to be ready for Opening Day after breaking his non-pitching elbow in an offseason accident with a bull, and there’s still some uncertainty about how Mike Minor will adjust to the Rangers’ rotation after going three years without starting a major-league game.

Assuming that there’s just one temporary opening in Texas’ rotation on Opening Day, Colon will compete with Matt Bush, Jon Niese, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Clayton Blackburn, and Yohander Mendez for that spot. The Rangers talked about the possibility of utilizing a six-man rotation earlier this offseason, so it’s possible that two of those pitchers could be in line to earn starting spots.