Bartolo Colon, full-time strike-thrower and part-time folk hero, added to his growing legend in Thursday's win over Atlanta.
The wide-bodied Colon required no help in the sixth when he caught A.J. Pierzynski breaking for second base. Colon ran down the catcher himself, spawning yet another entertaining video to make the rounds on social media.
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"I thank Pierzynski for taking off and making it a lot easier," Colon said through a translator.
But overshadowed by the latest of Colon's surprisingly athletic exploits is that he's pretty good at his day job, too. He is 4-0 to begin a season for the first time in his career, reaching the milestone by holding the Braves to three runs in six innings. "I've been really surprised I've been pitching the way I've been pitching at my age," said Colon, who turns 42 a month from Friday. "But the main thing is the team has been giving me support, run support, playing as a team."
Colon joined some exclusive company. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is only the fourth pitcher 40 or older to win his first four starts of the year, alongside Roger Clemens and Hall of Famers Phil Niekro and Nolan Ryan.
Colon has long leaned primarily on his fastball, though a blister on his middle finger forced him to take that preference to a new extreme. Of his 91 pitches, only 11 were off-speed.
"But I don't use those," Colon said with a smile.
Not that it mattered. He allowed seven hits, struck out five and walked none as he emerged victorious for the third time during the 11-game winning streak.
"He's remarkable, he really and truly is," manager Terry Collins said. "He's the epitome of what pitching is all about."