Colon has fun in clubhouse, then on mound

Veteran right-hander keeps mood light on and off the field

Colon has fun in clubhouse, then on mound

ATLANTA -- As Jose Ramirez and Adonis Garcia were shooting pool in the middle of SunTrust Park's home clubhouse Sunday morning, Bartolo Colon loosened the mood and startled everybody within earshot by loudly smacking a flexible foam roller against a leather chair, creating what sounded like a gunshot or small explosion.

Nervous laughter ensued as Colon sported an ornery grin and prepped for the gem he would create just a few hours later, while helping the Braves extend their winning streak to four games with a 9-2 victory over the Padres. The youthful 43-year-old hurler faced one over the minimum and surrendered just one hit, Ryan Schimpf's solo homer in the second inning.

"That's something I've been doing since my days back in Cleveland," Colon said of the pregame antics. "I took it to Anaheim, and I've implemented it ever since. I really only do it on the days it's my turn to start. In kind of a joking manner, I want to wake everybody up."

Calm, composed and not bothered by the disappointing four-inning outing he had in Miami five days earlier, Colon entered this outing against the Padres with the same kind of fervor that he possessed when he made his Major League debut on April 4, 1997 -- the same day Turner Field opened.

"I always try to pitch relaxed and be in a good place when it's my turn," Colon said. "Like I tell everybody, the day it's my turn to pitch is the happiest day of the week for me. I love it. I was just trying to stay relaxed and have a good time out there."

It was certainly easy for Colon to have a good time, even after Schimpf reached across the plate to homer on a pitch that was a couple inches off the plate. The Braves veteran followed the solo shot by retiring 16 of the final 17 batters he faced. A fifth-inning walk to Schimpf simply positioned Hunter Renfroe to follow with a double-play groundout.

Braves turn a double play

As Colon produced precise command, he proved why after allowing the Marlins six earned runs in four innings on Tuesday, he turned to Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and confidently said, "Next time, Papi. Next time."

"There's one guy who isn't going to die of a heart attack because of stress," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's probably experienced everything and more than all the rest of us put together in this clubhouse. Nothing bothers him. Everything is the same. It's just refreshing to be around."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.