Oldest in majors, Rangers' Bartolo Colon celebrates 45th birthday

From across the diamond, Kansas City Royals closer Kelvin Herrera marveled at the oldest player in the major leagues, Texas Rangers pitcher Bartolo Colon, who turned 45 on Thursday.

"I used to have pictures of him in my bedroom," Herrera recalled of his countryman from his teenage days in the Dominican Republic. "He was my idol."

Colon is pitching for his 11th big league club, having signed a minor league free-agent contract with Texas during spring training. He has made 10 appearances with the Rangers, including eight starts, and is 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA.

Colon's 242 career wins rank 55th all time. He is one win short of tying Juan Marichal for the most career victories by a pitcher from the Dominican Republic.

"He's 45, and he's pitching, and he does it very well," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.

Colon's practice is to speak to the media only after his starts. He is scheduled to start Saturday night against the Royals.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 280 pounds, Colon was given the nickname "Big Sexy" by New York Mets teammate Noah Syndergaard.

"I know that he keeps himself in much greater shape than most everybody thinks," Banister said.

Before Thursday's 8-2 loss to the Royals, the Rangers' clubhouse celebrated Big Sexy's big day with a cake. That included smashing his face into it as he took a bite.

"There's a certain grace about him that you just don't expect and humility that's just off the charts," Banister said. "I walk into the dugout after I've taken him out of the game, and every time, he thanks me."

Texas' first win with Colon pitching came in a 3-1 victory at Houston on April 15, in which he took a perfect game into the eighth inning before allowing a walk to Carlos Correa and a double to Josh Reddick.

Rangers teammate Mike Minor, 15 years younger, notes that Colon has mastered one pitch: the sinker.

"He keeps throwing it over and over," Minor said. "It's not as easy as it sounds."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.