Colon gets the call

Updated: March 16, 2006, 1:34 AM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNdeportes.com

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Right-hander Bartolo Colon will start for the Dominican Republic against Cuba in the WBC semifinals on Saturday.

"Colon is our ace, and we'll trust his arm to get us to the final," said manager Manny Acta after knocking off Venezuela to secure a berth in the semis.

Colon, last year's American League Cy Young award winner, has been solid in the WBC, going 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA. He has allowed just seven hits in eight innings.

Colon beat Venezuelan lefty Johan Santana, the 2004 AL Cy Young winner, in the Classic opener for both teams. On Sunday, the Angels pitcher allowed only one run in five innings, but did not get a decision in the D.R.'s only loss of the tournament, a 7-1 defeat to Puerto Rico.

"I would like to save Colon for the final, but we need to win the semifinals first," said Acta. "Colon is the right person to take us to the final."

The Dominican Republic has not determined a replacement yet for injured pitcher Damaso Marte, who has experienced pain in his left shoulder. Right-handers Jose Valverde and Jose Acevedo are the main candidates to fill the hole in the Dominican bullpen.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.