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Colon to make Red Sox debut

Colon to make Red Sox debut

BOSTON -- Three years ago, it might have seemed odd seeing Bartolo Colon pitch his first big league game of the season in late May while sporting a Minor League contract.

Colon, the 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner who signed with Boston on Feb. 8, spent the past month and a half with Triple-A Pawtucket after a free-agent offseason. He parted ways with the Angels, having not pitched since Sept. 29, 2007, despite being on the team's postseason roster.

But Colon will be back on a Major League rubber for the first time since 2007 on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. In doing so, the Sox hope to see Colon's 21-8 form from 2005, not the 7-13 performance that the 10-year veteran served up over the past two seasons in Anaheim.

"We knew he was going to be a big part of what we're trying to accomplish here," infielder Alex Cora said. "It was just a matter of time getting him healthy."

During his stint with the PawSox, Colon allowed just one earned run in 14 innings. He was 2-0 in three starts and sported a 0.64 ERA, despite missing time with a right oblique strain.

The injury sidelined him from April 3 until a May 10 start against Triple-A Norfolk, a three-inning, one earned-run performance. Colon then blanked Buffalo in six innings on Thursday, hurling 64 pitches in limited work.

"He could've gotten -- the way he was throwing -- up to about 80, but it didn't make sense," manager Terry Francona said. "We're not going to do something silly. But I don't see why he can't throw 85-90 pitches."

He'll replace Tuesday's starter, Justin Masterson, on the 25-man roster, one day after the righty's impressive 2-1 victory against Kansas City. His 6 1/3 innings pitched and one earned run allowed helped Boston snag the first two games of the four-game set.

It comes as the Red Sox will try to extend their five-game winning streak against a Royals squad that mustered just one run and five hits in its past two outings against the Sox. Masterson's strong performance coupled with Jon Lester's no-hitter on Monday took care of that.

This time, however, production from the Sox's starting pitching will need to come from a seasoned veteran, not an up-and-coming talent.

"It comes down to executing pitches and utilizing their strengths," catcher Jason Varitek said. "I'm excited for [Colon] because he seems like he's enjoyed being here."

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Bartolo Colon (6-8, 6.34 ERA in 2007)
Thanks to Clay Buchholz going on the disabled list, this will open up the opportunity for Colon to make his first Major League start of the season. The 10-year veteran is 146-95 in his career, which includes stints with the Indians, Expos, White Sox and Angels.

KC: RHP Brett Tomko (2-4, 5.32 ERA)
Tomko ended a six-start drought with a victory on Friday night against the Marlins, working six innings and giving up just two runs on five hits. He made some mistakes, but he got through a tough evening in hot 83-degree weather, which, in a cool spring, provided an unaccustomed sauna for the Royals. He had not won since his first start of the season, back on April 6 in Minneapolis. Tomko has pitched just four times against Boston in his career, going 1-1 with a 7.02 ERA. In two starts at Fenway, his ERA is, ouch, 19.06 -- 12 runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Tidbits
Sitting two homers away from 500 in his career, Manny Ramirez hasn't gone yard in his past 26 at-bats. ... Curt Schilling spent time on Monday throwing from 100 feet, which, according to Francona, was about 10 feet farther than expected. ... Lester's cleats, along with Varitek's catcher's gear and game-used baseball from Monday's no-hitter, were sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. ... Bench coach Brad Mills will assume third-base coaching duties until DeMarlo Hale returns from tending to his wife, who is undergoing medical tests in Orlando, Fla.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO 680, SBN 1150 (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Royals (Brian Bannister, 4-5, 4.29) at Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 7-0, 2.15), 1:35 p.m. ET
• Friday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 3-2, 4.33) at Athletics (Rich Harden, 2-0, 2.91), 10:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 5-3, 4.67) at Athletics (Justin Duchscherer, 3-3, 2.67), 9:05 p.m. ET

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

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