TAMPA, Fla. -- The hope for Bartolo Colon in his second exhibition start for the Red Sox was to pitch three innings. Instead, he didn't even make it out of the first.
But there was basically no fretting from Colon or the Red Sox over an outing that was somehow laborious and quick all at the same time.
In just two-thirds of an inning, Colon threw a whopping 41 pitches against the Yankees. He gave up three hits and four runs, walking three and striking out two.
"I felt great," Colon said through an interpreter. "I was only one or two pitches from getting out of the inning, but they're great hitters, too, and they take advantage of those one or two pitches. But I feel good."
At this stage of the game, health is what matters for Colon. If he has his health, the former Cy Young Award winner remains confident that everything else will be fine.
"That's what I need right now, to stay healthy, and I'm asking God that every outing is still healthy," said Colon.
Colon will pitch a Minor League game in Fort Myers while the Red Sox are in Tokyo. He will then meet them for their exhibition series (March 28-30) in Los Angeles and start one of those games against the Dodgers. The righty is all but certain to begin the season in the Minor Leagues. Colon can exercise an out clause in his contract if he's not on the big league roster by May 1.
"He needs to pitch a little bit more," said manager Terry Francona. "His arm strength is good, his attitude is outstanding. We've just got to get his legs under him, get him commanding and he's going to help us win some games. We all feel that way. And I'm glad he feels that way."
As for the abbreviated outing against the Yankees, Francona had little choice but to take him out.
"We got to a point in the first inning where you start to get worried about leaving somebody out there," Francona said. "We wanted to get him to about 50 pitches, [but] not in the first 10 minutes of the game."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.