Some sad news to pass along out of Tennessee.
According to the Associated Press, Charlie Lea passed away yesterday at the age of 54. Collierville police chief Larry Goodwin told the Commercial Appeal that he died of a suspected heart attack.
Lea pitched seven seasons in the big leagues, six of them with the Expos, and finished his career with the Twins in 1988. The French-born right-hander went 62-48 with a 3.54 ERA in 152 career games.
Lea is probably best known for throwing a no-hitter against the Giants in the second game of a double-header on May 10, 1981. But he was actually one of the better starting pitchers in the National League for a brief stretch before shoulder problems derailed his career, even starting and winning the All-Star Game in the 1984.
Lea was still involved in baseball in recent years, doing radio play-by-play for the local Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. May he rest in peace.
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.