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Theo on Bartolo

Posted by Amalie Benjamin  February 25, 2008 02:01 PM

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Here's what Theo Epstein had to say on the signing of Bartolo Colon, which was made official today:

"Well, signing Colon to a minor league deal, we think, is a no risk potential high reward signing. He's on a minor league contract, going to show up here at camp tomorrow and we'll do an evaluation of how far he is away from helping us. But it takes more than five starting pitchers to get through a season. Obviously he's an accomplished guy and if we can get him back to a point where he's throwing well, he can certainly help us at some point this season."

Colon threw 4 1/3 innings on Feb. 6 in the Caribbean Series against Venezuela, and hasn't thrown since. That, Epstein said, puts him behind the other pitchers in camp, and will certainly affect when he might be ready to start the season.

"We'll do a full workup on him tomorrow when he gets here," Epstein said. "Probably safe to assume he's a little bit behind everyone else. We'll see."

On the reports on the stint against Venezuela: "He was 89-91, shaping his fastball different ways. Pitching more than throwing. We have pretty good reports in September. He was 91-92 up to 94. We saw him pretty good in September, so we had interest. We wanted to wait and see if it was the right thing to do, make sure the price was right. At this point it's, as we said, very low risk and high reward as far as the depth of our pitching staff goes. It takes a lot of starting pitching to get through the season. You're hoping to get 1,000 innings from your starters. There's a lot of attrition, so this might be a guy who can help us at some point."

On his weight: "No real concerns. Just want to get him in camp and see how he looks and develop a plan to get him back healthy and throwing effectively. He's obviously someone who has pitched effectively at a high weight in the past. I don't think that's really slowed him down."

On his health: "Pretty good. We'll know more when we get him in and do a full workup. He had the shoulder issue a couple years ago and then the elbow and he's 34 years old. We know we might not be getting a guy who's going to go out and win a Cy Young award the way he's done a couple times in the past. But from what we saw in September, certainly enough to compete."

On an out clause in his contract: "There is. There is one day, but I don't want to reveal it. That gives us ample time to get him into shape and fully evaluate him."

"We're going to withhold any kind of judgment until we get him in here and get him on a program. Like I said, this is a depth signing. Hopefully he'll be ready right around the time when we need another pitcher."

On his program: "We're going to wait and see what he looks like when he gets in here. Probably start with long toss and work his way up into bullpens, face hitters, and get into games."

"We'll see how healthy we stay and what our projections might be for Bartolo, how healthy the rest of our pitchers stay, before we decide anything. I think you can never have enough depth, but at the same time you want to reward the guys who are here and putting their best foot forward."

"We had a conference call the other day where I talked to him, John Farrell talked to him, Tito talked to him. He likes the Red Sox and I think he sees us as an opportunity to get back to the major leagues in a winning environment. Allard Baird did most of the heavy lifting on this one."

"We're pleased. I think the best way to, one effective way to provide depth is to have guys on minor league contracts who can make a contribution if you can get them back to their top form. It's often hard for very competitive teams to do that because pitchers who are just looking for an opportunity tend to gravitate toward teams that have more openings. In this case I think it was just a really good fit. He knows he's a big league pitcher. He knows he can pitch effectively at the highest level when he's healthy and he wanted to do so in a competitive environment. So we'll just get him here and try to outline a program for him to get him back in top pitching shape and we'll see what comes of it."

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