Bartolo Colon will be returning to the scene where his folklore reached new heights.
On Friday, National League manager Terry Collins added Colon, 43, to replace Madison Bumgarner — who will start Sunday for the Giants — in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in San Diego. Colon, who is in his 19th season, will become the eighth player age 43 or older to make an All-Star roster, and if he pitches in the game, he’ll be the third oldest to do so.
“It means a lot. Especially for someone my age,” Colon said through an interpreter. “It surprised me a lot. There’s a lot of great ballplayers around the league and I wasn’t expecting this.”
As for how Collins presented the opportunity for Colon to be a part of the All-Star team, the Mets’ manager said, “Well, when I asked him if he wanted to go to the All-Star Game, he said, ‘Yes.’ He didn’t say, ‘Hey I need to rest. I’m 43 years old.’ He said, ‘Thank you, I’d like to go.’ So he’s going to go.”
Since his arrival in 2014, Colon has become a fan favorite for his on-the-field antics as much as his performance. He has a 7-4 record and 3.28 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) this season, but his at-bats have provided just as much excitement.
Probably none more than his first at-bat May 7 in San Diego when Colon drove a pitch from James Shields over the leftfield fence for his first career home run. Seventeen days before his 43rd birthday, he was the oldest player to hit his first homer.
Is he looking to grab a bat for a possible repeat performance?
“No,” Colon said. “I pray to God it doesn’t happen.”
Colon is just hoping to make the most of the baseball he has left, saying Friday he hopes to play “just one more” season if he feels healthy at the end of this year. This All-Star appearance is another chance for him to enjoy his run.
“It means a lot because these are the final stages of my career,” he said, “and I’m trying to soak in the moment.”
Collins said he’s been relieved to have a reliable pitcher in Colon with all the injury scares the Mets have dealt with on the mound the past few seasons.
“We think he’s certainly stabilized our rotation with all the ups and downs of our young kids that they’ve had,” Collins said. “The one constant has been Bartolo every five days.”
The All-Star nod could serve as a nice confidence boost for Colon, who was roughed up for six runs in 4 2⁄3 innings by Washington on Thursday night. It was only the second time this season Colon allowed more than three runs in an outing. He had entered Thursday with a 1.96 ERA in his previous 46 innings.
Colon joins fellow Mets Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia and Yoenis Cespedes on the National League roster.