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The league's largest ball of blubber grunted, sweated and tooted his way to a respectable 2008 debut.

That's right, America's favorite Phat Idol, Bartolo Colon, is back.

Hide the Oreos.

The only player in baseball history whose genetic makeup is one-third Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man, one-third Krusty the Clown and one-third Crisco, Colon was effective against the powerless Royals. Over five innings, he yielded two runs, on six hits, walked two and punched out four, netting his first win since June 14, 2007. 

Prior to being recalled, El Guapo Sr. overcame a buffet of injuries - oblique, shoulder and forearm strains and wisdom tooth extraction - during his six-week rehabilitation for Class AAA Pawtucket. In 14 innings with the PawSox, the 34-year-old surrendered just one earned and posted a sparkling 11:1 K:BB split.

Colon, shackled by a back strain and torn rotator cuff over the past two seaons, has burdened owners who've yearned for the days of yore. But the Colon of '05, the year he undeservedly won the AL Cy Young over Johan Santana, was on display tonight. His fastball's velocity routinely registered between 93-96 mph and his slider's location was consistent.

If Colon performs commendably over his next couple of starts, it's likely he will stick in the BoSox rotation. Clay Buchholz, currently sidelined by a broken fingernail, has struggled mightily with his command (4.25 BB/9) and could be reassigned to Pawtucket when medically cleared.

Once Terry Francona feels it's appropriate to unleash the beast - Colon totaled 74 pitches tonight - he will log plenty of innings and potentially double-digit wins. Add him in all 12-team mixed leagues once he clears waivers later this week.

Naturally, since commenting on Eric Gagne has become a nightly Closing Time ritual, the Canadian goose was officially turned into a pillow earlier today. The beleaguered stopper will be shut down until further notice with a stiff right shoulder. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

"It's all in the front of the shoulder," Gagne said. "Now we're just waiting to see. It's just one of those things (where) you usually warm up and it goes away, but it was getting tighter and tighter (Tuesday)."

Yeah, count on a prolonged absence. Ned Yost plans to install a closer-by-committee situation with Salomon Torres, who has 30 career saves, to head said committee. Those scurrying for saves must immediately add the 87 percent available Torres. If the former Pirates closer falters, don't be surprised if Carlos Villanueva, who was recently removed from the rotation, gets a shot. He was dynamite in relief last year and has the repertoire to dominate when clicking. 

In other rotund pitcher news, Sidney Ponson tossed his fourth gem in six starts, recording his first complete game since April 24, 2005. The demonstrative starter surrendered one-earned run to the Twinkies, on six hits, walking one with five strikeouts. Remarkably, Ponson coaxed 18 groundballs, raising his GB% to a Fausto Carmona-esque 59.8. Available in 94 percent of Y! leagues, he warrants an immediate pick-up in deep mixed leagues.

Per the Beaver County Times, Ryan Doumit, dropped in over 5,000 Y! leagues last week, is way ahead of schedule in his recovery from a fractured thumb. He could return to the Buccos lineup in 2-3 weeks. Doumit's .350 BA is the highest among all catchers with 100 or more at-bats. If available, grab him pronto.

Reminiscent of Mike Mussina in 1998 and Matt Clement in 2005, San Diego's Chris Young was struck in the head by a screaming line-drive off the bat of Albert Pujols. Blood promptly spurted from the lanky hurler's forehead, but he was able to walk off the field on his own power - lucky. He'll receive numerous stitches, but the scary incident likely won't cost him any time.

Update: The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Young suffered a nasal fracture. No additional information was released about how many days, if any, Young will be sidelined.

Hank Steinbrenner's verbal, and presumably physical, threats over Joba Chamberlain have finally been taken seriously. After Chamberlain threw 35 pitches over two electric innings (1 H, 2 BB, 3 K) to close out the Orioles, Joe Girardi announced that the 22-year-old flamethrower has begun his transition from reliever to starter.

The length of the process is unknown, but, speculating, he could join the Yanks rotation in roughly 2-4 weeks. Given his sensational K/9 (10.80) and questionable BB/9 (3.44), "The Hutt's" line as a starter could parallel Tim Lincecum. This is your last chance to purchase the bazooka-armed youngster at an affordable rate.

In that same game, Darrell Rasner, who is available in 96 percent of Y! leagues, recorded his third consecutive quality start, conceding zero runs in seven innings versus Baltimore. The 27-year-old also punched out six. Rasner's pinpoint accuracy (0.95 BB/9) is superb, but his sub-.200 BABIP and worrisome 48.3 FB% are indications an ERA regression is imminent. Crafty mixed leaguers looking to make a move should pick him up and dangle him as a deal sweetener.

Billy Butler may soon be hitting his weight. Sigh. Tonight's Ass-O-Meter line: 0-4, Season: .262 BA

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