Bartolo Colon
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Bartolo Colon will pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of 2018


According to Rangers manager Jeff Banister, right-hander Bartolo Colon is headed to the bullpen to finish out the remainder of the 2018 season. Reliever Adrian Sampson, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Round Rock earlier this week, will pick up Colon’s next scheduled start against the Angels on Tuesday.

Colon, 45, is nearing the end of his 21st campaign in the majors. While he’s made some improvements from his performance last year — most noticeably, bringing his ERA below 6.00 and lowering his walk rate — he hasn’t seen back-to-back quality starts since early July and appears to be running on fumes at this point. Following a 9-3 loss to the Angels on Wednesday, the veteran right-hander has gone 7-12 in 24 starts with a 5.55 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 5.1 SO/9 through 144 1/3 innings this season.

Given that Colon’s one-year, $1.75 million contract with the team is set to expire at the end of the year, his shift to the bullpen doesn’t come as a total surprise. He’s repeatedly stated that he intends to return to the majors in 2019, though a minor league deal may be more realistic unless he proves especially efficient out of the ‘pen.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.