Yesterday the Blue Jays gave Yunel Escobar his first day off this season and Omar Vizquel got the start at shortstop, making history by becoming the oldest player to ever appear at the position.
Bobby Wallace held the previous mark by appearing in 12 games as a 44-year-old shortstop for the Cardinals in 1918, but Vizquel broke his record by making the start at age 45.
When informed about the record, Vizquel told Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com that he’s proud of all the hard work that enabled him remain an asset defensively:
When you go back 100 years to look for a record, it is pretty amazing, actually. I can’t believe that I’m still jumping around and playing shortstop at this age. I feel pretty good about myself, I feel pretty good about my physical condition. It hasn’t been a year of work, it has been constantly working out every year, trying to improve your speed or your flexibility. It has been really hard work.
Another way to stay young? Yelling at umpires from the bench until they eject you from a game you’re not even playing. Vizquel had a pretty busy week.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.