Colon Solid In Debut, Sox Tie Rays 3-3

Bartolo Colon might have been overshadowed Thursday by the surprising release of backup catcher Doug Mirabelli, but the former Cy Young Award winner made an impressive debut for the Red Sox by tossing two solid innings in the Sox' 3-3, 10-inning tie with the Rays at City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers, FL.

Colon, who missed much of the last two seasons due to arm and back woes, was reportedly clocked at 94 mph on the radar gun during the first inning. He allowed two hits—including a solo homer to Jon Weber in the second inning—and one walk while recording one strikeout. Colon threw 26 pitches.

"I'm thrilled with the way my arm has been responding," Colon told reporters via an interpreter. "I don't know how hard I was throwing, but it felt very good."

Colon wasn't the only one encouraged by the outing. "I'll be honest with you—he had more arm strength than we expected," Theo Epstein told reporters. "He was 90 to 94 with his fastball, he hit 92 to 93 a lot. That's more velocity than we expected out of him.

"He had good two-seam life, showed arm strength and showed the ability to spin the ball with his slider and he threw one good changeup. For the first time out, we were really impressed."

Colon is scheduled to take the mound again Monday, when the Sox visit the Yankees in Tampa, FL.

Offensively, the Sox came back from a trio of one-run deficits and displayed their familiar late-inning magic by tying the game in both the ninth and 10th innings. Brandon Moss homered in the ninth while Chris Carter delivered an RBI double in the 10th. But Bubba Bell, who pinch-ran for Carter, was stranded at second. The Sox also had a chance to win it in the ninth, when they put two runners on base with none out following Moss' blast.

Alex Cora was the only Sox player with two hits. The Sox finished with nine hits and stranded 18 baserunners.

Fifth starter contender Kyle Snyder performed well in relief of Colon by tossing two innings of one-hit ball in which he struck out three. Hideki Okajima and Javier Lopez followed with scoreless innings before Julian Tavarez further damaged his slim hopes of winning the fifth spot in the rotation by allowing an unearned run on two hits and two walks in two innings.

Bryan Corey, who is vying with David Aardsma for the last spot in the bullpen, strengthened his case by tossing a scoreless ninth inning to lower his ERA to 1.50. Minor leaguer Beau Vaughan gave up the run in the 10th on one hit and two walks while striking out one.

The Sox, who tied for the second time in four games, are 5-8-2 in Grapefruit League play. Daisuke Matszuaka is scheduled to start Friday for the Sox, who oppose the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. at City of Palms Park. Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Timlin are also expected to pitch for the Sox.


Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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