Braves place Bartolo Colon on disabled list

Bartolo Colon, pictured in the first inning Monday night, gave up eight runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Phillies to raise his majors-worst ERA to 7.78. He was placed on the disabled list Tuesday. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Bartolo Colon, pictured in the first inning Monday night, gave up eight runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Phillies to raise his majors-worst ERA to 7.78. He was placed on the disabled list Tuesday. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Mired in the worst stretch of his 20-year career, Bartolo Colon is now on the 10-day disabled list with what the Braves said was a left oblique strain.

The move was made Tuesday, a day after Colon (2-7) got rocked again for seven hits and eight earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings of an 11-4 loss to the Phillies, raising his majors-worst ERA to a staggering 7.78, nearly 1 1/2 runs higher than the next-worst among 88 qualified major league starters, and increasing his opponents' batting average to .332, also the majors' worst.

Neither the Braves nor the 44-year-old pitcher had mentioned anything about any physical ailment prior to the DL announcement, and Colon said after Monday’s game that he felt good physically and mentally. Colon was unavailable for comment Tuesday, a Braves media-relations official said.

“He’s been getting treatment on an oblique,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said after the announcement. “I don’t think it’s a huge issue. I kind of feel like there’s something going on that’s not allowing him to perform the way he’s capable. I guess they figure it’s good to back off the stress and try to get him right. Take 10 days and hopefully everything clears up to where he can start doing what he’s capable of doing.”

Colon said after Monday’s game, “Physically and mentally I still feel good. Right now I’m just in a bad streak really. All I’ve got to do is just try to work my way out of it. God willing, I can.”

If he’s to do it now, it’ll be after a DL stint.

The Braves haven’t decided who’ll replace Colon in his next scheduled start, which would’ve been in one of the games in Saturday’s doubleheader. Reliever Jason Hursh was recalled from Double-A Mississippi to fill the roster spot for at least a few days.

Snitker said the Braves likely would call up one or two starters from Triple-A to pitch the doubleheader games unless the Braves made a move to acquire a starter from outside the organization. Kris Medlen isn't an option at this time but could be in a few weeks.

He said the plan for now is to get Colon back after the DL stint and let him start again rather than move to the bullpen.

“That’s kind of hopefully the plan,” Snitker said. “Just like you do, skip a start or two and try and get right. Just get back healthy. … Sometimes those guys that have been around longer, they’re such warriors they have little things going on and they don’t want to back off. It’s better to do that so they don’t … because you kind of adapt for an extended period.”

Colon said after Monday’s game that he would prefer to stay in the starting role he’s had his entire career, but would do whatever the Braves asked.

Colon, the oldest active pitcher or player in the majors, is 1-5 with a 10.03 ERA, .380 opponents’ average and 1.075 opponents’ OPS in his past eight starts. He’s allowed 63 hits, including eight home runs, in 35 innings during that stretch with 12 walks and 22 strikeouts. He gave up six or more earned runs in half of those eight starts and lasted fewer than six innings in all eight — twice as long as his worst such streak in his 19 previous seasons.

One week ago, he was charged with nine runs (seven earned) in 2 1/3 innings of a loss at Anaheim. Five days before that Colon gave up seven runs and 10 hits in five innings of a loss to the Pirates.

After Monday’s loss, Snitker was non-commital for the first time when asked whether Colon would make his next scheduled start. Snitker said he would discuss the situation with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and Braves officials. Again, no mention was made at any point before Tuesday that Colon was hampered by injury or soreness.

“He’s been getting treatment for a while,” Snitker said. “It hasn’t been anything that’s been great, but I think at some point you just have to make a decision to protect a player from himself a little bit. Just get him back healthy. Back off the throttle a little bit.”