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

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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.