Lehigh Valley IronPigs excited to host 'Big Sexy' Bartolo Colon this week

Lehigh Valley IronPigs excited to host 'Big Sexy' Bartolo Colon this week

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are the best.

They certainly have marketing down pat.

Their latest gem came Monday. When you head to the team's official website, IronPigsbaseball.com, the first thing that pops up is a graphic promoting Thursday's home game against Rochester. What made it so great? They highlighted the opposing pitcher, which happens to be 44-year-old veteran Bartolo Colon.

Lehigh Valley wanted to make sure fans knew "Big Sexy" would be taking the Coca-Cola Park mound.

The 5-foot-11, 285-pounder is a presence out there, alright.

The Phillies have seen him plenty over his long career. The IronPigs will get him Thursday night.

"Big Sexy" should have a big challenge against Lehigh Valley, which is 55-35 and boasts a stacked lineup.

This would be a fun game to go to if you're a Phillies fan.

MLB Notes: Braves' Bartolo Colon designated for assignment

MLB Notes: Braves' Bartolo Colon designated for assignment

SAN DIEGO -- Right-hander Bartolo Colon was designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, one day after the 44-year-old right-hander's record dropped to 2-8.

Pitching for the first time since going on the disabled list with a strained left oblique on June 6, Colon allowed six runs, eight hits and three walks in four innings in during Wednesday night's 7-4 loss at San Diego.

Colon has an 8.14 ERA in 13 starts, unable to find the form that earned him an AL Cy Young Award winner and made him a 235-game winner.

"The reality is that I've been getting hit hard and that's the truth and you can't dance around it," Colon said through a translator after his latest loss.

Unless Colon is traded or claimed on waivers, the Braves would be responsible for the remainder of his $12.5 million salary. If he is released and signs with another team, the new club would be responsible for only a prorated share of the $535,000 minimum.

"We hated to do it," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of releasing Colon. "It wasn't easy because he is such a great guy and a wonderful teammate. But it just wasn't happening here" (see full story).

Nationals: Turner suffers broken right wrist
WASHINGTON -- Trea Turner has a broken right wrist after being hit by a pitch, and it's unclear when the Washington Nationals will get their speedy shortstop back in the lineup.

Turner was hit by Pedro Strop's 2-1 fastball in the seventh inning of Washington's 5-4 loss Thursday. Turner stayed in the game until Stephen Drew entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth.

Turner went for X-rays after the game. The Nationals did not provide a timetable for his return.

Turner stole two bases, bumping up his total to seven in the four-game series and 35 on the season. He entered the day tied for the NL lead with Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton. Washington's leadoff hitter is batting .279 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs.

Cubs: Bryant could be sidelined until next week
WASHINGTON -- Kris Bryant was out of the Chicago Cubs' starting lineup for a series finale at Washington, a day after spraining his right ankle, and could be sidelined until next week.

The reigning NL MVP turned his ankle on third base while catching a foul popup in the sixth inning Wednesday.

"It feels a ton better today," Bryant said Thursday. "I'm moving around pretty good. I don't think it will be too long."

X-rays Wednesday were negative. After leaving the field Bryant said he and the training staff "did a bunch of stuff that didn't feel good, but I guess it really made feel better today."

He was replaced at third base Thursday by Jeimer Candelario.

"Just got to give us a couple of days to figure it out at that point," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

Maddon acknowledged he could hold Bryant out until Chicago hosts Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

"I would think that's what it's going to be. When you sprain your ankle, it just doesn't get better overnight," Maddon said (see full story).

Giants: Hwang can earn over $700K if he stays in majors
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jae-Gyun Hwang would earn $786,885 if he remains on the San Francisco Giants' major league roster for the remainder of the season and could gain more in performance bonuses.

The South Korean third baseman homered in his major league debut Wednesday for San Francisco, a tiebreaking drive in the sixth inning of the Giants' 5-3 win against the Rockies.

When Hwang joined the Giants in January, he received a minor league deal and agreed that if added to the 40-man roster he would have a $1.5 million salary while in the major leagues and a $125,000 salary while in the minors.

His contract calls for big league performance bonuses of $125,000 each for 250, 300 and 350 plate appearances; $150,000 for 400; $300,000 apiece for 450 and 500; and $375,000 for 550.

He would earn a $100,000 roster bonus if he is on the major league active roster for 90 days, not including disabled list time.

Ben Lively solid again, but Phillies' bats can't solve knuckleball in loss

Ben Lively solid again, but Phillies' bats can't solve knuckleball in loss

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA — Looking to add innings to their rotation as they go through their own rebuild, the Atlanta Braves signed two fortysomething pitchers during the offseason.

The Phillies, also rebuilding, beat up one of them — Bartolo Colon — on Monday night, but could not follow suit against R.A. Dickey on Thursday night.

The 42-year-old knuckleballer pitched his best game of the season in leading his team to a 3-1 win over the Phillies (see Instant Replay).

And so a four-game series that started with so much promise for the Phillies — wins of 11-4 and 3-1 in the first two games — ended with back-to-back losses and a split.

Given the way things have gone for them this season, the Phils will take that as they head to St. Louis with baseball's worst record, 21-37.

The Phils will also take this:

Desperate for some quality starting pitching, they've gotten two nice outings from rookie Ben Lively in his first two big-league starts.

Lively followed up his seven-inning, one-run performance against San Francisco in his debut with seven more innings Thursday night.

This time, however, he took the loss, paying the price for a leadoff walk and two doubles in the first inning. Lively gave up two runs in that inning and three in all. The Phils did not have enough steam in their bats to overcome that. Dickey allowed just three hits and a run over seven walk-free innings. He struck out eight.

"It's always tough because it's different," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of facing Dickey. "You have a submariner-baller and half of it is deception. A knuckleballer, you never see it. It's tough, especially if he's got it working. (Braves catcher Tyler) Flowers missed at least half a dozen pitches, so you know it was dancing. You have to give him credit for having a good knuckleball tonight. We just couldn't get anything going."

The Phillies, who were just 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, got their only run in the seventh inning when Maikel Franco singled home Odubel Herrera with two outs.
 
The Phillies had just four hits. Herrera had the only extra-base hit — his nightly double.

Over the last six games, Herrera has 10 doubles. He also has two homers over that span, giving him 12 straight extra-base hits. Herrera had 21 doubles all of last season. This season, he leads the National League with 22. His 12 extra-base hits in June are the most in the majors.

Looks like he's out of that May slump. He hit just .183 in that month.

"Odubel," Mackanin said. "What a series he had. I think he had eight or nine extra-base hits. He has 12 straight extra-base hits, which is outstanding. That's just what the doctor ordered for him to get him jump-started."

Herrera is still human, however.

He badly misplayed a ball in center field and that cost the Phillies a run in a close game.

He also lined out softly to third with runners on the corners to end the top of the eighth inning. A hit there would have made things interesting.

Only 13 times this season have the Phillies gotten more than six innings from a starting pitcher. Lively has done it in both of his starts. Aaron Nola became the first Phillies' starter to go more than seven innings this season when he delivered eight strong on Tuesday night.

"It's good now if we can get six, seven, eight innings here and there," Mackanin said. "That makes our bullpen better. We've got (reliever Joaquin) Benoit coming back probably on Sunday to shore that up. Little by little we have to keep inching forward."

Lively blamed his first-inning problems — a walk and two doubles — on being "a little too pumped up."

Mackanin didn't think the right-hander had good pop on his fastball in the first inning.

"That was probably just me trying to feel out my pitches when the game started," Lively said. "Once they started clicking, I started rolling."

Lively pitches to contact. He allowed 12 baserunners in seven innings, but managed to limit damage.

"If I stay on that track and keep being that bulldog, hopefully I'll keep having games like this," he said.

The Phillies will take that anytime. And if they score some runs, they'll get some Ws on the nights when Lively pitches like that.

"He battles you," Mackanin said. "That's the thing I'm impressed with. That's two in a row now, seven innings. That's what we needed."