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MLB Oakland Athletics

Should Oakland Athletics’ Bartolo Colon Pitch In 2013 MLB All-Star Game?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Bartolo Colon has officially been recognized as a MLB All-Star in 2013. Whether he should actually participate in the Midsummer Classic, however, is whole different story.

But wait, why would a designated All-Star voluntarily not pitch in the annual matchup between the best in the AL and NL, especially when he’s healthy and there’s home advantage at the World Series on the line? With the 2.69/1.11 ERA/WHIP that the Oakland Athletics veteran has put up over 120.1 innings this season, you’d have to figure that even the one inning Colon is eligible to pitch on Tuesday would help.

… help the AL, anyway. As for the A’s, those numbers might be exactly the reason why the 40-year-old should seriously consider not pitching.

Though there is a point to be made that All-Star eligible pitchers who start on Sunday like Colon would simply be throwing what is equivalent to a bullpen session if called upon for an inning of work at the game on Tuesday, you’d have to mention that the game speed and effort level would be at least somewhat different under the bright lights in New York and with the opposing hitters trying their best (well, supposedly) to win.

Given the fact that Colon is on pace to make 30-plus starts and throw 200-plus innings for the first time since 2005, any unnecessary extra work should be ill-advised.

The last bit is staggering enough that it bears repeating: Colon will likely do more work on the mound this season for the A’s than he has over most of the last decade. This isn’t an established arm when it comes to longevity — in fact, health issues are exactly what derailed his career to begin with prior to the whole crazy stem cell therapy/PED-fueled comeback that got him back to this point.

So with the A’s holding on to a thin one-game lead in the AL West and with folks like setup man Sean Doolittle already overworked, why take the unnecessary risk especially when throwing relief isn’t something that Colon has been used to for at least a couple of seasons?

In the context of the All-Star game itself and the fact that he would only pitch one inning, you could even say it’d be the same or better for the AL if, say, Grant Balfour got the nod instead.

The A’s need Colon more than the AL does at this point, and that fact alone should be enough to convince the right-hander to step back and realize that his one-inning assignment among the game’s best (even if Jim Leyland allows it) may not be worth it in the long run.