Former Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon of the Athletics was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for testosterone.
MLB made the announcement one week after All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera of the Giants received a 50-game suspension following a positive test for a similar substance.
“I say sorry to the fans, to my squad and to the Oakland A’s,” Colon said in an announcement released by the players’ association. “I accept responsibility for my actions and I am going to serve my suspension as required by the joint drug program.”
He will miss the last 40 games of the regular season and the 1st 10 games of the postseason if Oakland advances that far. Any remainder of the suspension would be served in a future season, if Colon signs another major league deal.
“It’s a shock,” Oakland reliever Grant Balfour declared. “He’s a guy that we are definitely depending on right now. I think you could say it’s bad timing any time, but especially now.”
Oakland, which has not made the playoffs since 2006, began Wednesday a half-game out in the American League wild-card race. The A’s were preparing for an afternoon series finale against Minnesota Twins when they were given the news from clubhouse TVs. A closed-door team meeting was called.
GM Billy Beane received word from MLB and started to search for a starter to take Colon’s turn in the rotation Thursday at Tampa Bay. Tyson Ross will be called up from Triple-A Sacramento. Beane addressed the A’s in the clubhouse before the team took the field for pregame warmups.
“Listen, it’s upsetting. From a baseball standpoint, we’re scrambling,” Beane said. “We’re all disappointed not only for the Giants and the A’s But for baseball.”
The 39-year-old Colon is 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts this season, his 1st with the A’s, and has a 171-122 record in 15 big league seasons.
A 2-time All-Star, the burly right-hander won the 2005 American League Cy Young Award after going 21-8 for the Los Angeles Angels. Sports scores
Colon will lose the remaining $469,945 of his $2 million base salary this year. He has also got earned $750,000 in performance bonuses based on starts and $150,000 based primarily on innings, which are not impacted. Thursday’s start would have earned him another $250,000, and the suspension will cost him the chance to make $850,000 in extra bonuses based on innings.
Five players have been suspended this year under the big league drug program. San Francisco reliever Guillermo Mota was penalized 100 games in May following his 2nd positive test and is eligible to return August. 28. Philadelphia infielder Freddy Galvis and free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd were suspended 50 games each in June.
The A’s were not interested by discussing Colon’s situation as they try to return the playoffs for the 1st time since being swept by the Tigers in 4 games of the 2006 American League championship series. Oakland did welcome back starting left-hander Brett Anderson in Tues. night’s win over the Twins following a 14-month absence because of elbow ligament replacement surgery.