OAKLAND — Bartolo Colon is 40 years old, he has passed the 150 innings pitched mark and he looks as if he is starting to tire.
The A's All-Star starter has seen his velocity decrease in his past few starts, dipping from its usual 91-94 mph to mostly around the 85-86 mph mark on Wednesday at Cincinnati. Colon hit 91 a few times, but sat in the mid-80s.
"He didn't look like he had his best stuff today, his velocity was down," manager Bob Melvin said. "He did have a little bit of a stomach ailment in the bullpen when he was warming up. He's had it before and pitched through it. Just a combination of things."
Colon's velocity does have a tendency to vary over the course of a season, but his outing Wednesday has to create some concern for Oakland, which has dropped 6½ games in the standings to Texas in just over a week; the teams are tied atop the American League West, and Oakland's best starter had his first really bad outing in three months, giving up five runs in 2²⁄³ innings.
It was Colon's shortest outing in more than a year, and it was the second start in a row in which the master of control had walked three batters.
One of the walks he issued on Wednesday was to opposing starter Homer Bailey.
Colon wouldn't use any stomach illness as an excuse, saying through interpreter Ariel Prieto, "I pitched bad, that's what I think."
Rosales rejoins A's: The A's reacquired infielder Adam Rosales in a waiver deal with the Texas Rangers on Thursday.
Rosales hit .193 with four home runs and eight RBIs in 50 games with Oakland before he was cut on July 31. Texas claimed him last week and he spent three days with the Rangers but didn't get into a game. Texas designated Rosales for assignment on Monday.
Rotation in flux: Oakland enters today's series with the Toronto Blue Jays without a starter listed for Saturday. That's despite a week that included three days off, so much extra time that one starter, Tommy Milone, was sent down to Triple-A Sacramento.
Milone was scheduled to pitch for Sacramento on Thursday, and Melvin said that continued to be the case — Milone hasn't spent the required 10 days in the minors before he can return, for one thing.
Brett Anderson, the A's Opening Day starter, has a simulated game at Class-A Stockton on Saturday, and the A's are unlikely to rush Anderson into action when he is coming back from a stress fracture in his right foot.
Sacramento's listed starter for Saturday is the A's top pitching prospect, right-hander Sonny Gray, who had two scoreless outings in relief for Oakland last month. Gray is the best bet to get the Saturday spot, given that that's his day to pitch and the other candidates do not appear to be options that day.
A.J. Griffin, pushed back to Sunday, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he is perfectly fine. The move gives Griffin, the major-league leader in home runs allowed, six days of rest. Colon also would get two extra days of rest.
The A's rotation is going through a bumpy patch: Since the All-Star break, Oakland's starters are 6-8 with a 4.53 ERA. Before the break, the A's rotation was 41-29 with a 3.86 ERA.