Bartolo Colon smiles as he rubs the spot where a line drive hit him. (Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

Sometimes, footage of a pitcher being hit by a line drive can be hard to stomach. Not so in this case.

No, the sharply hit ball up the middle that bounced off Bartolo Colon hardly deterred the veteran pitcher from picking it up and throwing the runner out at first. Perhaps that’s because the ball hit Colon in the best possible place: his belly.

The incident occurred in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s game between Colon’s Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners, whose shortstop, Jean Segura, hit the 102-mph shot that bounced harmlessly off the pitcher’s famously ample midsection. After completing the play for an out, Colon was checked upon by Texas coaches, players and trainers, as well as umpires, but he shrugged off any injury concerns.

“It hit me more on the side than in the middle,” Colon said after the game, a 5-1 Rangers win. “I have a lot of big belly, so I can take it.”

The episode underscored what baseball fans have long known: When “Big Sexy” is on the mound, interesting things happen. The Dominican native, who turns 45 this month and is listed at 5-foot-11 and 285 pounds, took a perfect game into the eighth inning last month against the World Series champion Houston Astros, and he followed it up by beating runners to the bag, including speedy Dee Gordon, on two straight at-bats in an April game against Seattle.

In Wednesday’s game, Colon went 7 2/3 innings without giving up a run, throwing 71 strikes among 96 pitches while striking out three and walking none. In his 21st MLB season, Colon lowered his ERA to 2.82, good for 10th-best among qualified American League pitchers (per MLB.com’s Andrew Simon).

“It’s unbelievable. He’s not tricking you. He just executes and gets the job done,” Seattle’s Kyle Seager said.

At this rate, we may never see Colon retire, which would be just fine with baseball fans. Just one request: Can we send the beefy hurler, who in 2016 became the oldest player to hit his first MLB home run, back to the National League, so we can again hope to see him on the delivering end of a hard-hit ball?

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