It looks like the Diamondbacks and Aaron Heilman might have erred in trying the veteran setup man as a starter this spring. The 32-year-old right-hander was placed on the DL for the first time in his career Friday due to a case of shoulder tendinitis.
Replacing him on the roster will be 25-year-old righty Josh Collmenter.
Heilman, who lost out to Armando Galarraga for the last spot in Arizona’s rotation, had allowed nine runs in 6 2/3 innings out of the pen this season. Six of those runs came Wednesday in Arizona’s 15-5 loss to the Cardinals, when he was struggling to touch 90 with his usual 91-94 mph fastball.
Heilman is one of just four relievers to make at least 60 appearances and pitch at least 60 innings each of the last five years, joining Jonathan Broxton, Francisco Cordero and Mariano Rivera. And that’s actually setting the bar low for him: he was over 70 appearances and 70 innings in each of the five seasons, something none of those closers did. Only two other pitchers (Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch) matched those marks over four of the last five seasons.
Veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon was released from his minor league deal with the Rangers on Saturday, MLB.com’s TR Sullivan reports. Despite his strong showing in spring training, Colon wasn’t considered a lock to make the Opening Day rotation. This may not be the end of his time with the team, however — according to multiple reports, the Rangers have expressed their desire to restructure a minor league deal with the right-hander and could work out an arrangement to keep him on as bullpen and Triple-A depth this season.
Colon, 44, is preparing for his 21st year in the majors. He split his 2017 campaign with the Braves and Twins, posting a cumulative 7-14 record in 28 starts and finishing the season with a 6.48 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 5.6 SO/9 in 143 innings. While those numbers were some of the worst he’d seen since 2009, the veteran righty made a compelling case in camp this spring, holding batters to six earned runs, four home runs, two walks and 10 strikeouts in 18 innings.
The Rangers are expected to open the season with a rotation comprised of Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Mike Minor and Martin Perez. Perez is working his way back from an elbow injury in his non-throwing arm and is slated to miss his first start of the season, which would provide a brief window of opportunity for Colon when the Rangers hit the road in April.