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Colon goes 5 strong in Pawtucket

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Steve Crowe
Globe Correspondent / April 3, 2008

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Bartolo Colon made it clear he doesn’t want to stay in Pawtucket long. And if he continues to pitch the way he did last night, he won’t have to.

Colon pitched five scoreless innings, striking out five and allowing one hit and one walk as the PawSox beat Indianapolis, 3-0, in the their International League season opener before 10,681 at McCoy Stadium.

Colon faced one batter over the minimum (16) for five innings and would have had a spotless outing if not for Indianapolis first baseman Adam Boeve — he had a line-drive single to right in the second inning and walked in the fifth. After walking, Boeve stole second and reached third on a throwing error by catcher George Kattaras. No other Indianapolis player got a whiff of first base.

‘‘I felt very good,’’ Colon said through interpreter Cookie Rojas, Pawtucket’s general sales manager. ‘‘I felt like I had control of the ball. I pitched very well today.’’

Colon’s control and arm strength were terrific. He threw 74 pitches (45 for strikes), and his fastball topped out at 96 miles per hour. He threw 17 pitches in the first inning, 12 in the second, 11 in the third, 12 in the fourth, and 22 in his final inning. His final pitch was a 95-m.p.h. fastball to strike out Kevin Thompson.

The PawSox planned to relieve lift Colon after five innings or 88 pitches. Colon, 34, has had a limited workload because he has been plagued by injuries the last two seasons. Colon, who won the American League Cy Young Award with the Los Angeles Angels in 2005 (21-8, 3.48 ERA in 33 games), has appeared in just 29 major league games the last two years after rotator cuff surgery and elbow problems. cq

He said his shoulder and elbow are healthy.

‘‘The arm feels good,’’ said Colon, who allowed only three balls to reach the outfield for Boston Boston’s Triple A affiliate. ‘‘I didn’t have to rear back any harder. I was consistent all game. The real big thing for me was making sure I had control of my pitches tonight.’’

In three spring training starts for the Red Sox, Colon went 0-1 with a an 8.10 ERA.

Colon was with Boston Tuesday in Oakland, where he threw a side session. He said he started training later than he would have liked and needs more conditioning to be most affective. effective.

‘‘I want to pitch [for the Red Sox] but I want to make sure I’m ready to perform,’’ Colon said. ‘‘I don’t want to come back down and pitch here again if I don’t have to. I have to pitch more innings, then I’ll be more affective effective.’’

Colon isn’t the only former Cy Young er winner to start Opening Day for the PawSox: Curt Schilling did it three years ago. While Colon wants to join Schilling and the rest of the defending World Series champs, he understands that’s not his decision.

‘‘Whatever management wants me to do, I’ll be more than happy to accommodate,’’ he said. ‘‘All I know is I’ll be pitching in the next five days.’’

He just doesn’t know where.

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