New York Daily News

Bartolo returns to scene of the homer


series, which starts Monday.

“I am just picking up a ball and playing light toss, nothing too crazy,” Syndergaar­d said during the All-Star media availabili­ty. “I am taking it day by day and see how it goes.”

He will definitely miss his chance to take the mound on Tuesday, reduced to a spectator in the NL dugout.

SAN DIEGO — The alert went out through MLB, which had Robinson Cano rushing to his phone. The Mariners’ All-Star second baseman had to see it to believe it when he heard that his former teammate, Bartolo Colon, had hit a home run here in May.

“I had to watch it twice,” Cano said with a huge smile. “It took him like what, two hours to get around to home? It was great. I loved it.”

In a room full of All-Stars on Monday, players young and old, foreign and American, rookie and veteran, all smiled when asked about the 43-year-old NL righthande­r. There is lots of national pride that he has the second most career wins by a Dominicanb­orn pitcher, but mostly there is amazement at his career and happiness at having a fun guy around.

“As a Dominican, I am proud of him and what he has done. I am proud he is here and

“I was really disappoint­ed,” Mets manager Terry Collins, who is skippering the NL team, said of Syndergaar­d not pitching. “I was disappoint­ed not for me, but for our fan base and for him. He’s legit. He deserves to be here.”

Syndergaar­d said it was a “nobrainer” to still make the trip to San Diego and participat­e in the festivitie­s. on my team,” Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna said. “I think it is great he is still going strong.”

There is no slowing down for the Mets pitcher. He was named to the team by Terry Collins because the Mets and NL skipper wanted a durable guy in case the game goes into extra innings, so there is a good chance Colon won’t pitch.

“You have to have a guy if you go extra innings, a guy who can give you multiple innings and I know Bart can do that,” Collins said. “He’s durable enough and some guys don’t want to do that, but I talked to him about it and he was fine. He just wants to be here. He deserves to be here.”

At the All-Star break, Colon is 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA. The senior member of the Mets’ rotation of mostly young, hard-throwing power arms, Colon is tied for the second most wins.

He will likely start the second half of the season Friday against the Phillies.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen and Collins

“Gorgeous San Diego, my first All-Star Game, I couldn’t say no to that,” Syndergaar­d said. “It’s been really hectic, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

But his first All-Star experience had the black cloud of his arm issues hanging over it. Syndergaar­d is pitching with a small bone spur, and in his last start he took himself out because he was afraid he went to Colon and asked him if he would start the first game if he doesn’t pitch Tuesday night.

“They asked me and I told them, even if I do pitch Tuesday night, I will pitch Friday,” Colon said. “I told them to just give me the ball.”

With Noah Syndergaar­d nursing a dead arm, Matt Harvey lost for the season after surgery to repair Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Jacob deGrom telling Collins he was physically and mentally tired, Colon has been the horse of the Mets’ staff.

“At 43 years old, when we signed him, we were hoping to get a guy who filled in as the fifth guy once in awhile, but he has emerged as one of best pitchers on our team in a rotation that is filled with what I believe will be future stars,” Collins said. “He’s been that constant force . ... I am proud to have him here.”

Syndergaar­d said that Colon is “jolly” and a reminder to enjoy the game and the chance to play it every day.

Cano, who was a teammate of Colon’s in 2011 with the Yankees, agreed.

“He was always there with a smile and to talk to you if you wanted,” Cano remembered. “On the days he was pitching, he was the same guy, happy and fun. Now, when I face him, he still jokes around with me. I’ll ask him what he is going to throw me and he will tell me a joke.

“He’s a good teammate,” Cano said. “He’s a good friend. But I still had to joke with him about how long it took to get around the bases.”

Colon laughed that off, just like he does all the hecklers on the road when he is in the on-deck circle.

“I don’t know if they are laughing with me or laughing at me, but I don’t let it bother me,” Colon said. “I am just having a good time and not worrying about it.”

Colon not only enjoyed his near 30-second run around the bases here in May, but also got a thrill hearing about it from all his old teammates like Cano. Colon is just here having another good time.

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