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Braves plan to use six-man rotation when Bartolo Colon returns

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David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves will expand the starting rotation to six members when Bartolo Colon returns from the disabled list by Wednesday. Colon will rejoin the rotation without going on a minor league rehab assignment.

Colon, 44, went on the disabled list on June 6 with a strained left oblique. He struggled through 12 starts, compiling a 7.78 ERA with a 40/17 K/BB ratio in 59 innings.

The Braves want to see more out of pitching prospect Sean Newcomb, who has turned in two solid starts against the Mets and Marlins to start his big league career. He’s given up three earned runs on nine hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings.

O’Brien notes that the six-man rotation may only be temporary as the Braves may explore trading Jaime Garcia between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.