At 43, Colon is an All-Star again

Mets right-hander named to NL team; it's his fourth Midsummer Classic

At 43, Colon is an All-Star again

NEW YORK -- There is no rest for those who wish to defy age. So when National League All-Star manager Terry Collins approached Bartolo Colon this week to invite him to the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard in San Diego, Colon's answer seemed obvious.

"He didn't say, 'Hey, I need to rest, I'm 43 years old,'" Collins recalled. "He said, 'Thank you, I'd like to go.' So he's going to go."

Major League Baseball added the 43-year-old right-hander to the NL roster on Friday, replacing San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner. Scheduled to start against the D-backs on Sunday, Bumgarner declined his option to participate in the Midsummer Classic on short rest.

Colon's strong start

That created a spot for Colon to make his fourth career All-Star roster, but first since 2013 and first for the NL. Colon made his initial appearance nearly two decades ago in 1998, when he was 25 years old. He also made it in 2005, the year he won the American League Cy Young Award with the Angels, and in 2013 as a 40-year-old with the A's.

All-Star Game coverage begins Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

"It means a lot, especially for someone my age," Colon said through an interpreter. "I thank God for this opportunity, to be allowed to be a part of this."

Colon will not be the oldest player to make an All-Star Game -- that honor belongs to Satchel Paige, who pitched in the 1953 event a week after his 47th birthday. But that doesn't make Colon's accomplishment any less notable. At 43 years, 2 months, Colon will be the oldest All-Star since Mariano Rivera, who closed out the 2013 All-Star Game at 43 years, 7 months and 14 days old.

There is also a strong chance that this will be Colon's final All-Star appearance. For the first time on Friday, Colon spoke in tangible terms about the end of his career, saying he would like to pitch only one more season after this one.

"These are the final stages of my career," Colon said. "I'm trying to soak it up. ... If God gives me the opportunity and I remain healthy, I think I want to pitch another season. Just one more."

That means another year of low-90s two-seam fastballs, the staple of a repertoire Colon reworked and perfected in his late 30s. And if Colon, who signed a one-year deal with the Mets last offseason, re-signs with them or another NL team, it means another year of helmet-flying hacks at the plate. The 43-year-old hit the first home run of his career earlier this season at Petco Park, though he said Friday that he has no desire to hit at any point in the All-Star Game.

"I pray to God it doesn't happen," he said.

Must C: Colon's first home run

As much as Colon enjoyed his home run, he would prefer to be known for his pitching. And as injuries have taken their toll on the rest of the Mets' rotation -- Matt Harvey is about to undergo season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are pitching through bone spurs in their elbows and Zack Wheeler is still recovering from Tommy John surgery -- Colon has pitched to a 7-4 record and a 3.28 ERA in 17 starts and one relief appearance. Only Syndergaard has thrown more than Colon's 98 2/3 innings.

Still, Colon said, the All-Star selection came as a "surprise."

"There are a lot of great players around the league, and I wasn't expecting this," he said.

The 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. More information is available at allstargame.com.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.