MLB notes: Bartolo Colon OK after taking line drive to chin

Former Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon returns to the dugout during a game against the Blue Jays at...

Former Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon returns to the dugout during a game against the Blue Jays at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., Aug. 2, 2012. (Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:41 PM ET

Pitcher Bartolo Colon was taken to hospital after being hit on the chin by a line drive in a game Sunday in the Dominican winter league.

The 39-year-old was sprawled on the mound for a few minutes but was able to walk off the field on his own, holding a towel to his face.

"He took a ball off the chin and needed some stitches but he's fine," agent Adam Katz told the Mercury News on Monday.

Colon drew a 50-game suspension by MLB in August after failing a drug test. He had a 10-9 record with a 3.43 earned-run average this season with the Oakland Athletics.

MLB officials said last week they were investigating ways to protect pitchers from line drives. The topic of safety arose after Detroit Tigers pitcher Doug Fister was hit on the head by a ball in Game 2 of the World Series.

Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy suffered a skull fracture and brain contusion after being struck by a batted ball Sept. 5.

The possibility of head protection will be discussed at meetings in December. Under consideration is a cap liner made with Kevlar, but that wouldn't have protected Colon.

FREE AGENCY BEGINS

Baseball shifts from the post-season to the free-agent season with the conclusion of the World Series.

The big names up for grabs include Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton and Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Zack Greinke.

Designated hitter David Ortiz also is listed as a free agent, but reports out of Boston suggest he will re-sign with the Red Sox.

Others testing the market include Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Bourn, Detroit Tigers designated hitter Delmon Young, starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and reliever Jose Valverde, Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, New York Yankees outfielders Nick Swisher and Ichiro Suzuki and Tampa Bay Rays outfielder B.J. Upton.

Players can begin signing with new teams this weekend.

GIRARDI ENCOURAGES A-ROD

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi is attempting to patch up his relationship with star third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who was benched for part of the American League championship series.

The two have had "a great conversation" on the phone, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.

"Joe could not have been more supportive, and Alex could not have been more receptive," the source said.

Girardi didn't apologize for benching Rodriguez while offering tips for his off-season training program.

Rodriguez, 37, would be difficult to trade because he has five years and $114 million left on his contract.

CONTRACT MOVES

Numerous players had their contract options picked up or refused Monday for the 2013 season, including the following:

• The Philadelphia Phillies have accepted catcher Carlos Ruiz' $5-million option for 2013. Ruiz hit .325 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI in 114 games in 2012.

• The Twins have declined the $9.25-million option on Scott Baker, making the right-handed pitcher a free agent. Baker missed the entire season following Tommy John surgery. The Twins are interested in signing him to a smaller contract.

• The New York Yankees have picked up the options for next season on second baseman Robinson Cano and centre fielder Curtis Granderson. Each will make $15 million next season and then become eligible for free agency.

• The Oakland Athletics have exercised a $4.5 million option on relief pitcher Grant Balfour but have declined a $10-million option on shortstop Stephen Drew. The A's likely will offer Drew a smaller contract.

BRIEFLY

The Cincinnati Reds lead the majors with six nominees for Gold Glove Awards, including Canadian first baseman Joey Votto. Three players have been nominated at each position in each league and the winners are scheduled to be announced Tuesday night.


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