Bartolo Colon headed for disabled list with back strain

Bartolo Colon
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Rangers veteran hurler Bartolo Colon has landed on the 10-day disabled list for the first time this season, according to a team announcement on Friday. Colon has been suffering from a bout of back stiffness since mid-August and was officially diagnosed with a lower back strain, which is expected to keep him sidelined at least until the end of the month.

The move is retroactive to Tuesday, the day after Colon pitched his way to his 11th loss on five innings of seven-run, three-strikeout ball against the Athletics. While he claimed back stiffness wasn’t the culprit for his poor performance, it was his first start following a round of treatment the previous weekend, and it’s clear that the Rangers don’t want him to lose any more time or progress as he works his way back to full health now.

Through Monday, Colon carries a 7-11 record through 23 starts with a 5.45 ERA, 1.5 BB/9, 5.5 SO/9 and 0.2 fWAR (the lowest in any season he’s pitched to date) across 140 1/3 innings. The 45-year-old right-hander is under contract with the Rangers through the end of the 2018 season and is scheduled to hit free agency in the fall, though his recent health troubles and ineffectiveness on the mound might make it difficult for him to extend his 21-year career for yet another season.

In a corresponding move, infielder Hanser Alberto has been recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. Alberto, 25, worked his way back to the majors after losing his 2017 season to shoulder surgery. He slashed .091/.167/.091 with one hit and one walk in 12 plate appearances with the club this year, though his time in Triple-A has yielded far more promising results: a .330/.346/.452 batting line, 27 extra-base hits and a .797 OPS through 384 PA.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.