Colon, Red Sox confirm commitment

Colon, Red Sox confirm commitment

ST. PETERSBURG -- With the May 1 opt-out deadline on Bartolo Colon's contract approaching, manager Terry Francona confirmed on Friday that both Boston and the right-hander remain equally committed.

Colon has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons, and has been rehabbing his way back from a strained right oblique. The former All-Star had an "out clause" in his contract that would have enabled him to leave on May 1 if he hadn't yet played in the Major Leagues this season.

Francona said that general manager Theo Epstein spoke with Colon's representatives and that the club also spoke with the pitcher personally, and implied that both sides are on the same page.

"We just wanted to make sure he understood how we feel," Francona said. "At the same time, it's not realistic that he's going to pitch in six days. We wanted to make sure that he understood that we want to keep him, so we're trying. I think they've worked some things out where that will be moved back.

"I don't anticipate any problems there, but I don't want to speak for him," he added. "He wants to stay, and we want him to stay. That won't be a problem."

Boston signed Colon to a Minor League contract in late February, with hopes that the right-hander could get healthy and help contribute to the starting rotation. After progressing throughout the spring, Colon reported tightness in his oblique following an April 3 start at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Although his timetable was slowed, Colon resumed his throwing program on Tuesday and appears to be progressing well.

The former Cy Young Award winner made the trip to St. Petersburg for the three-game series vs. the Rays and was seen playing catch prior to Friday's game.

Colon will throw three bullpen sessions before May 5, including one in the next few days, and Francona said that getting him into a game on May 5 is a "best-case scenario." The PawSox host the Durham Bulls that night.

Despite battling injuries last season, Colon went 6-8 with a 6.34 ERA over 99 1/3 innings with the Angels.

Boston was impressed with Colon's arm strength and is confident about the tentative target date.

"It was a good conversation. I think we all felt pretty comfortable," Francona said.

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.