Ageless Colon, Rangers square off against Royals

Bartolo Colon celebrated his 45th birthday Thursday and what the Rangers right-hander wants most for a present is a win over the Kansas City Royals when the teams square off Saturday in the third contest of the four-game series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

The Royals will send right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-5, 5.30 ERA) to the hill to counter the ageless Colon (2-2, 3.51).

After losing Thursday, Texas evened the series Friday with an 8-4 victory as Ronald Guzman homered and tripled while driving in three to help former Kansas City reliever Mike Minor beat his old team and improve to 4-3 on the season.

Shin-Soo Choo and Nomar Mazara added home runs for the Rangers while Mike Moustakas and Jorge Soler hit round-trippers for Kansas City.

Colon, the oldest player in the major leagues, is pitching for his 11th big league club over 21 seasons, having signed a free-agent contract with the Rangers during spring training.

He was expected to be a long reliever and a spot starter for Texas but has been pressed into a bigger role as the Rangers have battled with injuries and consistency in their pitching staff.

“He’s 45, and he’s pitching, and he does it very well,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said about Colon, who at 5 feet 11 tips the scales at a reported 280 pounds. “He keeps himself in much greater shape than most everybody thinks. There’s a certain grace about him that you just don’t expect and humility that’s just off the charts.”

Colon will make his 11th appearance and ninth start of the season. He has 242 career wins, one shy of matching Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (243) for most wins in MLB history by a native of the Dominican Republic.

Colon will be working on regular four days’ rest after suffering a 10-5 loss on Monday versus the New York Yankees. He has gone 15-11 with a 5.04 ERA in 31 games (30 starts) in his career against the Royals.

The Royals were without outfielder Alex Gordon on Thursday for the second straight game on as he is still dealing with pain and sluggishness from a diving catch on Wednesday against St. Louis that tweaked his neck and right hip.

Kansas City manager Ned Yost emphatically said Friday that Gordon would not be placed on the disabled list and expected him back in the lineup as soon as Saturday afternoon.

Gordon had started 28 of the previous 29 games after returning April 24 from a 13-game DL stint because of a left hip injury.

“I see him probably playing tomorrow, if not tomorrow, the next day for sure,” Yost said.

Kennedy will make his 11th start of the season after taking the loss in the first game of the Royals’ current road trip, a 6-0 defeat at St. Louis on Monday. He allowed five runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings in that game innings.

Kennedy is winless over his past eight starts, going 0-5 with a 6.33 ERA since his most recent win on April 7 at Cleveland. He will be seeking his first win over Texas despite a 3.58 ERA in six career starts. Kennedy has a 1.95 ERA in his last four starts versus the Rangers.