As he walked off the field after wrapping up his 20th regular season as a major leaguer, Bartolo Colon stopped at the first-base coach's box to hug an old pal — Tigers coach Omar Vizquel, his teammate in Cleveland two decades ago.
"He said, 'I saw you pitch the first time, and now I saw you pitch the last time,' " Colon said. "Maybe he's talking about himself not coming back, because I'm not going anywhere."
As a matter of fact, the 44-year-old righthander's season might not be over.
Colon gave up only three hits and one run over 6⅓ innings, a performance that helped deliver the Twins' 85th victory of the season, 5-1 over Detroit, and also gave manager Paul Molitor and the Twins front office something to think about if they have to assemble a roster for an AL Division Series later this week.
The Twins used their 2017 regular-season finale largely for staying sharp ahead of Tuesday's wild-card game with the Yankees in New York, with most starters getting three at-bats. But for Colon, the game might have served as an audition for a potential postseason start — or at least a chance to reassure the Twins that he's up to it.
"It's a good chance for him to end the regular season on a positive note and feel good about what he's doing with the baseball," Molitor said. "We'll see how it unfolds. Obviously we have to win Tuesday to keep him in the conversation."
Colon looked like a postseason pitcher Sunday, albeit against a last-place, 98-loss Tigers team. While the Twins jumped to an early lead thanks to a Joe Mauer run-scoring double and three RBI from Jason Castro, Colon never faced more than four batters in an inning, walked only one batter, struck out four and left to a standing ovation.
"It was amazing. For them to do that for me, it almost made me want to cry," Colon said. "It was a great moment for me."
He is convinced there are more ahead. Colon said he intends to pitch again in 2018, and "if [the Twins] want me back, I would love to be back."
Waiting for Sano
The Twins have until 9 a.m. Tuesday to finalize their roster for the wild-card game, and after watching Miguel Sano on Sunday, General Manager Thad Levine said, "We're going to use every bit of the time."
That's because Sano went 0-for-3 in his second start since returning from a stress reaction, striking out once and grounding out twice. On the latter ground ball, he ran gingerly to first base, and Molitor said the discomfort in his left shin still bothers him.
"I don't think he feels great. We'll see how he feels tomorrow, and make a decision on how we proceed," Molitor said.
The Twins are taking 30 players to New York. Molitor said he prefers to have three catchers in the one-game playoff, so Mitch Garver was on Sunday's flight to New York, and they are still deciding how many relievers to make available.
• The Yankees informed the Twins on Sunday morning that righthander Luis Severino, as expected, will start Tuesday against Ervin Santana. The Twins scored three runs off Severino in a three-inning start Sept. 20.
• The Twins drew 28,148 in the season finale, giving them a total attendance of 2,051,279, an increase of 87,367 over last season, which was their worst in Target Field's eight seasons. The Twins averaged 25,641 per game over 80 dates, an increase of 1,396 over last year but 21st overall in the majors.