Colon stymies Phillies as Dom Brown sits again

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Colon stymies Phillies as Dom Brown sits again

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Bartolo Colon might look more like a Wing Bowl contestant than a major-league pitcher, but he had no trouble with the Phillies Friday night.

In fact, you could say he gobbled them up.

Colon, the rotund 41-year-old right-hander, pitched eight innings of one-run ball in leading the New York Mets to a 5-4 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).

With the victory, Colon became just the third Dominican-born pitcher to reach 200 wins, joining Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (243) and future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez (219).

Colon served a suspension for testing positive for PEDs in 2012.

The Mets have won 11 of their last 13 games in Philadelphia, dating to last season.

Colon left with a 5-1 lead after eight innings and the Mets’ bullpen nearly coughed up the lead. The Phillies rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Jenrry Mejia stopped the rally by striking out pinch-hitter Reid Brignac looking at a third strike as the tying run stood on third base.

Grady Sizemore provided the big hit in the ninth, a hard-hit, two-run double off the right-field wall with no outs.

Mets rightfielder Curtis Granderson then made a diving catch on Carlos Ruiz’s sinking liner to save a run. If that ball dropped in, the Phils might have had their second late win in as many nights.

Sizemore’s double was his only hit of the night. He is 28 for 85 (.329) with seven doubles and one home run in 23 games with the Phillies. He has been the Phillies’ starter in left field eight of the last nine games as Domonic Brown’s playing time has shrunk.

Brown, hitting .228 in 107 games, struck out as a pinch-hitter in Friday night’s game. He has been out of the starting lineup nine straight games, though three of those non-starts came over the weekend in Washington when he was being treated for a tonsil infection.

Asked about his health before Friday night’s game, Brown said: “I’m 100 percent. Have been for four days.” Brown was terse and he did not sound happy.

Manager Ryne Sandberg clearly likes what he’s seen of Sizemore. The Phillies swept Houston in the previous three games and Sizemore was right back in left field Friday night.

“Well, you don’t want to mess with something that’s going good, either,” Sandberg said before the game. “Domonic will get another day of batting practice under his belt.

“We'll give (Sizemore) a number of at-bats and see what he looks like for the future. He's part of a lineup that has won three straight, so that's a part of it also."

Phillies starter A.J. Burnett continued his second-half slide. He was tagged for 11 hits and five runs in six innings. His ERA in five starts since the All-Star break is a plump 6.66.

Two of Burnett’s last three starts have been losses to the Mets. In those two starts, he has pitched 11 innings and given up 19 hits and 12 earned runs.

Sandberg said Burnett was falling behind in too many counts and elevating too many pitches.

Burnett, who is 6-12 with a 4.29 ERA in 25 starts, agreed.

“That’s how it’s been the past four starts,” he said. “It’s time to get better. I’m pretty sure they didn’t bring me over here to be like this all year — inconsistent.”

Burnett allowed six hits and four runs in the fourth inning. He was still upset about that after the game. Had he limited the damage in that inning, the Phils’ rally in the ninth might have gone further.

Colon scattered six hits, walked none and struck out six in beating the Phils for the second time in his last three starts. He allowed just one run in 7 2/3 innings against the Phillies on July 28.

So in his last 15 2/3 innings against the Phils, Colon has given up just two runs.

“He has movement on his fastball — cuts it and sinks it,” Sandberg said. “And he changes speeds on his fastball. I think it’s been really hard for our hitters to gauge his fastball. It’s anywhere from 88 to 92 (mph).”

Colon actually hit 94 on the stadium radar gun in the eighth inning.

“He does a good job changing speed with his fastball,” Cody Asche said. “And I think he’s good at reading the hitter, too -- kind of like being a step ahead. I think that’s why he’s survived so long in this game and done so well. He’s tough.”

Roman Quinn hopes new offseason plan results in that elusive healthy season

Roman Quinn hopes new offseason plan results in that elusive healthy season

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Roman Quinn’s bio covers a wide range of body parts. There’s the Achilles tendon, as in torn, the quad, as in torn, and the oblique, as in strained. Twice. The word concussion also appears in there.
 
Sick and tired of having things go ‘pop’ in his body, Quinn decided to try something new after last season.
 
In early November, he rented an apartment “two minutes” from the Phillies’ spring-training facility and for three-plus months worked under the supervision of Paul Fournier, the team’s strength and conditioning guru.
 
“Paul and I worked five days a week,” Quinn said Saturday. “Strength. Flexibility. It was something I wanted to do because in the past I was doing something wrong in the offseason. I was ready for the season but I ended up getting leg injuries. Paul put together a plan to get my body right and he was there the whole time to tell me if I was doing something wrong. I’m going to carry it into the season.”
 
Quinn, 23, made a solid showing in a big-league cameo with the Phillies in September. In 15 games, he had a .373 on-base percentage and showed off a big arm in the outfield. Alas, he did not play in the final five games of the season after injuring his oblique for a second time.
 
Quinn’s play in September fueled speculation that he would be in the Phillies’ opening day outfield this season. Even manager Pete Mackanin said there was a good chance it could happen. But that late-season oblique injury served as one last reminder of Quinn’s inability to stay healthy and the Phillies ended up bringing in two outfielders, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders, this offseason.
 
Kendrick and Saunders were added first and foremost to provide some veteran impact and offense in the lineup. But you have to believe Phillies officials might have stopped at one veteran bat or brought in a semi-regular player to share time with Quinn if Quinn’s health history wasn’t such an issue. He’s never stayed on the field for a full season.
 
“If that was the case I can definitely see where they’re coming from,” Quinn said. “I know I need to play a full season and be healthy and prove that I can play 160-something games.”
 
Saunders’ signing last month pretty much made it official: Quinn will open the season in center field for Triple A Lehigh Valley. Quinn said he was not disappointed by that. He applauded the signing of Saunders.
 
“I think it was a good team decision,” he said. “He’s a really good player and he’s going to provide a lot for this team.
 
“Those things are out of my control. All I can do is go out and compete and play my heart out.
 
“I’ve never played at Triple A. If I do end up in Triple A, I’m going to make the most of it and play hard and compete like I have throughout my time in the minor leagues.”
 
When Quinn is healthy and on the field, he is a dynamic player, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound switch-hitter with gap power and blazing speed. He has 159 stolen bases in 356 minor-league games since being selected in the second round of the 2011 draft and passing on a scholarship to Florida State to sign with the Phils.
 
Quinn has the arm to play any outfield position. He showed that September 14 when he gunned down Sean Rodriguez at the plate in the ninth inning to help preserve a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Philadelphia. The throw registered 96 mph on MLB.com Statcast.
 
96.
 
The Phillies have one starting pitcher — Vince Velasquez — who throws that hard.
 
“It was a pretty cool feeling,” Quinn said.
 
In high school, Quinn was often used as a closer. He said he hit 94 mph on the radar gun back then.
 
Though Quinn is ticketed for Triple A, Phillies management is eager to see him play in Grapefruit League games. He was arguably the most exciting player on the field during his time in big-league camp last year.
 
“What we saw in September was a really exciting player with a lot of promise who has a chance to be an impactful big leaguer,” general manger Matt Klentak said. “But we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for Roman developmentally. He’s never had an at-bat at the Triple A level and we don’t believe some additional time in the minor leagues will stunt his development.”
 
At Lehigh Valley, Quinn will be flanked by Dylan Cozens and Nick Williams in a prospect-studded outfield. All three could be in Philadelphia at some point this season.
 
“If I do end up at Triple A, we’re going to have a pretty stacked team,” Quinn said. “It will be exciting because we all could be knocking on the door of the big leagues.
 
“I know just getting that little taste last year made me feel like it was somewhere I belong. I’m hungry.”

MLB Notes: Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson misses workout with calf injury

MLB Notes: Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson misses workout with calf injury

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Toronto slugger Josh Donaldson has missed the team's first full-squad workout because of a calf injury.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Saturday that the third baseman tweaked his right calf while running sprints a day earlier. He was scheduled for an MRI and further evaluation. Donaldson injured the same calf last April but did not miss any significant time.

Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP, batted .284 with 37 home runs and 99 RBIs last season. He was an All-Star for a third straight season and helped lead Toronto to the ALCS.

Also, catcher Russell Martin was given the day off because of a fever.

Bryce Harper thinks he had a bad 2016
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper says he knows "exactly why" his production dipped last season from his MVP-winning performance a year earlier -- but he did not elaborate.

Harper met with reporters Saturday, the day before Washington's first official full-squad workout of spring training.

After saying he did know what happened to make him go from the youngest unanimous MVP in baseball history in 2015, to a .243 hitter in 2016, Harper evaded questions that tried to pin him down on the reasons.

He spoke about "staying in the lineup" last season as if it were a chore, but did not say that he was injured.

Asked what he thought of the Nationals' offseason transactions, Harper said the team's switch to a new training complex in Florida was the "biggest move I'm excited about."

Kershaw to start opening day for 7th straight time
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Clayton Kershaw will make his seventh straight opening-day start for the Dodgers, tying Don Sutton's franchise record.

The announcement was no surprise. It took Manager Dave Roberts four days into spring training to say Kershaw will start April 3 at home against the San Diego Padres.

Roberts calls this an "obvious" decision. He spoke Saturday before his club began an abbreviated workout schedule on a rainy day in the desert.

Sutton made seven straight starts from 1972 through 1978. Don Drysdale had seven opening-day starts, but not in successive years. Fernando Valenzuela made six.

Kershaw is 4-0 with two no-decisions on opening day.

Yankees beat reliever Betances in final arbitration case
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The New York Yankees beat Dellin Betances in the year's final salary arbitration case, and the relief pitcher will be paid $3 million rather than his $5 million request.

The decision gave teams an 8-7 edge in decisions this year, the most hearings since clubs won 10 of 16 decisions in 1994. Players won three of four cases last year.

Arbitrators Steven Wolf, Dan Brent and Sylvia Skratek issued their decision Saturday, a day after hearing arguments.

New York renewed Betances at the major league minimum $507,500 last year. A setup man for the first four months, he took over as closer after the trades of Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs and Andrew Miller to Cleveland.