Lightning Strikes Twice in San Francisco – Oakland A’s Bartolo Colon Joins Giants Melky Cabrera in 50-Game Suspension After Positive Drug Test
August 23, 2012
Yes, in the span of seven days, two 50-game suspensions have been handed out to players testing positive for testosterone, with Oakland Athletics pitcher and former Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon joining the San Francisco Giants Melky Cabrera on a growing list of professional baseball players forced from playing in the remainder of MLB’s regular season.
Colon predictably apologized to teammates and supporters Wednesday, saying in a statement released by the player’s association, “I apologize to the fans, to my teammates and to the Oakland A’s. I accept responsibility for my actions and I will serve my suspension as required by the joint drug program.”
As it stands now, Colon, ESPN.com reports, will miss the final 40 games of the A’s 2012 regular season schedule, and would remain banned from the first 10 contests played in the post-season if Oakland earns the opportunity to make it that far.
Should the pitcher not fulfill the full length of his suspension for any reason this year, Colon would then be forced to serve the remainders of games outstanding beginning next year – that is, assuming Colon would sign / be able to sign another major league contract.
Colon’s suspension couldn’t come at a worse time for Oakland, who as of Wednesday of this week remained just a half-game out of an AL wild-card berth.
The A’s front office responded to news of the suspension in typical fashion, with the team saying in a statement released to the media, “The Oakland Athletics are disappointed to learn of today’s suspension.”
Teammates of Colon tended to be more vocal in their own individual responses, however, with Oakland relief pitcher Grant Balfour noting, “It’s a shock. He’s a guy that we’re definitely relying on right now.”
Starter Brandon McCarthy went further, pointedly stating, “You can say someone’s a good teammate, but it has to extend in all facets. Off the field, on the field and how you are in the clubhouse, no matter how you look at it, we’ve now lost a really important part of our team to his actions.”
Players outside of the A’s organization also chimed in, with Chicago White Sox hitter Adam Dunn telling the Los Angeles Times, “It’s kind of how dumb do you have to be …. I don’t want to call you stupid, but you kind of look [at] yourself in the mirror and it’s pretty dumb.”
Finding a replacement for Colon, a 39-year-old hurler who prior to his suspension carried a 3.43 ERA and a win-loss record of 10-9 (his ten wins are the best since his Cy Young season in 2005) over the span of 24 starts, quickly became the primary focus of the A’s, with general manager Billy Beane electing to call up Tyson Ross from Triple-A Sacramento.
Colon, meanwhile, is reported to not have filed a grievance with the MLB player’s association over the issuance of the suspension, though a source close to the situation tells ESPN.com that no such details have as yet been announced by those representing Colon.
The same source also notes that, though oddly coincidental, to this point, no connection has been made between Cabrera and Colon and the respective suspensions handed down for their testing positive for a banned substance.
Five players in professional baseball have now been suspended this year under MLB’s drug testing initiative, with San Francisco reliever Guillermo Mota penalized 100 games in May, Philadelphia infielder Freddy Galvis and free agent Marlon Byrd each suspended 50 games in June and Cabrera and Colon handed down significant penalties just within the last week.
That, according to The New York Times, is the greatest number of suspensions handed down since 2007 – and this “in a sport that instituted drug testing for steroids and other performance enhancers nearly a decade ago and in the years since has strengthened the penalties and the overall testing regimen.”