Bartolo Colon could always throw strikes. Two months shy of turning 45, he still can.
Colon filled up the strike zone Thursday in his spring training debut for Texas, a two-inning start against San Diego.
The portly right-hander gave up two hits, including a home run by Wil Myers, struck out Chase Headley looking and walked none. He threw 23 of 32 pitches for strikes, and his fastball was mostly in the mid-80s mph range.
Colon signed a minor league contract with Texas after going a combined 7-14 with a 6.48 ERA in 28 starts last season with Atlanta and Minnesota.
”I feel well and I’m throwing strikes,” he said. ”I’m happy with the way I feel. All I need to do is keep working hard and then it’s up to them.”
Texas added Colon to see if he had anything left.
”He’s got deception, a great feel for a pitch and commanding the fastball and puts it where he wants to,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ”Day one, he walks out here for live BP and young, fresh hitters walk away scratching their heads. They don’t see it.”
”It’s phenomenal, to want to do it at that age,” Banister said. ”Hey, just to want to do it at that age and then be good enough to continue to do it, it’s incredible.”
AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES
ASTROS 10, RED SOX 5
Charlie Morton pitched two shutout innings in his first action since closing out Game 7 of the World Series. Houston prospect Kyle Tucker hit his third spring home run.
Boston starter Rick Porcello struck out four in two scoreless innings. Hanley Ramirez hit his first homer of the spring.
ORIOLES 5, RAYS 2
Tampa Bay reliever Jonny Venters pitched his second scoreless inning of the spring. The 32-year-old lefty has been out of the majors since 2012 while recovering from three Tommy John surgeries. Baltimore prospect Ryan Mountcastle doubled in the go-ahead run.
YANKEES 6, PHILLIES 4
Miguel Andujar hit two more home runs a day before turning 23 years old. The New York third baseman has four homers this spring and is 6 for 14 (.429). CC Sabathia struck out three in two perfect innings in his spring debut. Aaron Altherr homered for Philadelphia.
MARLINS 3, METS 2
Jason Vargas allowed a run on three hits in two innings in his first start for New York. Closer Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect inning. Miami’s top pitching prospect, Sandy Alcantara, gave up one run and four hits in a three-inning start.
Mets center fielder Michael Conforto celebrated his 25th birthday by hitting soft tosses in the batting cage for the first time since shoulder surgery in September.
NATIONALS 6, BRAVES (SS) 2
A.J. Cole allowed two hits and struck out three in a two-inning scoreless start for Washington. Nick Markakis went 2 for 2 and scored for Atlanta.
Bryan Harper struck out two in a shutout inning for the Nationals. His younger brother, Nats star Bryce, had surgery to remove an ingrown toenail Wednesday and he is expected to return to the lineup Saturday.
TWINS 3, CARDINALS 3, 9 INNINGS
Adam Wainwright gave up two hits and three walks but no runs in two innings in his first appearance for St. Louis. Marcell Ozuna homered for the Cardinals.
Adalberto Mejia, a front-runner for the back of Minnesota’s starting rotation, surrendered two runs on four hits in three innings.
BRAVES (SS) 5, TIGERS 2
Nicholas Castellanos hit his second spring homer and Victor Martinez had his first for Detroit. Ronald Acuna Jr. had two hits for Atlanta.
PIRATES 4, BLUE JAYS 1
Top prospect Austin Meadows hit a two-run homer for Pittsburgh and Sean Rodriguez added a solo shot. Pirates closer Felipe Rivero pitched the fourth inning and allowed a hit with two strikeouts in his first spring appearance. Kevin Pillar got three hits for Toronto.
ROYALS 4, MARINERS 3
Jorge Soler swatted his third home run of the spring as Kansas City rallied and improved to 5-0, the only unbeaten team in the majors this spring. Seattle starter Mike Leake struck out four innings in three scoreless innings. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager each had two hits for the Mariners.
ROCKIES 2, CUBS 2, 9 INNINGS
DJ LeMahieu had two hits for Colorado. Slimmed-up slugger Kyle Schwarber was 0 for 3 and struck out twice for Chicago.
BREWERS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 1
Wade Miley, hoping to crack Milwaukee’s rotation, struck out five over 2 1/3 shutout innings. Arizona starter Zack Godley threw three scoreless innings.
INDIANS 8, DODGERS 7
Abraham Almonte drove in two runs for Cleveland. Los Angeles left fielder Matt Kemp went 1 for 3. Kemp, who played his first nine years for the Dodgers, is back with them after spending the past three seasons with San Diego and Atlanta.
ANGELS 11, GIANTS 4
Los Angeles starter J.C. Ramirez allowed one hit in two shutout innings. San Francisco newcomer Evan Longoria got his first hit of the spring. Giants starter threw three shutout innings.
PADRES 9, RANGERS (SS) 9, 9 INNINGS
Delino DeShields had two hits and Shin-Soo Choo added a RBI double for Texas. Christian Villanueva hit a grand slam for San Diego.
REDS 8, WHITE SOX 7
Eugenio Suarez went 3 for 3 with a double and his replacement, Cliff Pennington, went 2 for 2 for Cincinnati. Reynaldo Lopez allowed one run on one hit and two walks in two innings for Chicago.
RANGERS (SS) 9, ATHLETICS 4
Khris Davis hit a grand slam, his second home run in as many days, for Oakland. Texas prospect Willie Calhoun had two hits, including a homer.