Colome Sidelined For Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.—The Rays had big plans for righthander Alex Colome this season, which may have even included a September promotion to the big leagues.

But Colome's season came to a premature end when he was sidelined by a lat strain in his third start after moving up from Double-A Montgomery to Triple-A Durham.

"We were excited about the season Alex was having," farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "Early in the season he struggled with the first two innings of his start before settling down.

"Command and pitch selection improved and because of that his overall performance improved. He became more of a pitcher than a thrower, and the results were noticeable from his first pitch to last."

Colome, a 23-year-old in his sixth season since signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, got better as he went along with the Biscuits, going 5-0, 1.27 over his last five starts to end up at 8-3, 3.48 overall with 75 strikeouts and 34 walks in 75 innings before being promoted to Durham.

At the time, there was talk that the hard-throwing Colome could be on a similar track as lefthander David Price in 2008 and lefthander Matt Moore last year, promoted through the system and then to the big leagues to be part of the playoff push and maybe even the postseason roster.

"This guy could be very, very special. I love his arm," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He's different."

After a very good debut for the Bulls and a so-so second start, Colome left his third outing with discomfort in his shoulder. The news turned out to be not-so-bad, a strain of the lat muscle. When he does return, the Rays eventually will have to decide whether to keep Colome starting or move him to the bullpen.

"We certainly see Alex as a big league pitcher," Lukevics said. "Whether he is a starter or a reliever is still to be determined. He has the stuff to do either."


• Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee's season also came to an early end when he was sidelined at Montgomery in mid-August with an oblique strain.

• Catcher Robinson Chirinos, sidelined since spring training with a concussion, was cleared in mid-August to resume baseball activities, with the possibility he can get back behind the plate during instructional league.