The Braves plan to bring back struggling veteran Bartolo Colon from the 10-day disabled list without a minor league rehab assignment and put him in an expanded starting rotation by Wednesday.
If things go as planned, they’ll use a six-man rotation at least temporarily, with Colon returning to a group that includes Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and left-handers Jaime Garcia and Sean Newcomb, the prospect who was to make his second start Friday.
“Right now we’re looking at middle of the week for him (to return) at the back end of the rotation,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Probably Wednesday-ish. Could be sooner, depending. Right now we’re looking at Wednesday.”
Colon, 44, has a 2-7 record and a 7.78 ERA that is the worst among major league starters. He also has a $12.5 million salary, and the Braves weren’t ready to eat that money and release him.
Newcomb, who was brought up from Triple-A to start one of the doubleheader games against the Mets on Saturday, was so impressive — 6 1/3 innings, four hits, one unearned run, two walks, seven strikeouts — that the Braves don’t want to send him back to the minors, at least for now.
So the solution they came up with for the immediate future is to go with six starters. The situation could change by next month, when Garcia is among the Braves who figure to draw the most trade interest before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. He’s in the last year of his contract and has been the Braves’ best and most consistent starter (3.16 ERA) despite a 2-5 record that’s a result mainly of poor run support.
Colon went on the DL on June 6, a day after getting rocked for eight runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Phillies. The Braves said he had a strained left oblique, though he continued working out and throwing and traveled with the team to Washington for this week’s three-game series that ended Wednesday.
The Braves don’t normally have players on the disabled list make trips, but wanted Colon to continue working with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez as they attempt to make adjustments to help Colon get straightened out.