As CBS’s Jon Heyman first reported A’s veteran start Bartolo Colon has been suspended for 50 games under the MLB PED testing policy for using synthetic testosterone. This is no doubt a pretty disappointing piece of news for the A’s as Bartolo had been a pretty useful and steady veteran presence in the A’s rotation and clubhouse. But this is not anywhere near the kind of blow the San Francisco Giants felt a week ago when they lost Melky Cabrera for the rest of the regular season for the same failed drug test.
I detailed just a few days ago how having too much pitching was a good problem for the A’s to have and that they conceivably had 10 guys in their ranks who could be starting pitching candidates. Well we can knock that number down to 8 with Graham Godfrey‘s DFA yesterday and Bartolo Colon’s suspension this morning. I would imagine Dan Straily will be the first candidate to be brought back to Oakland having just been sent down to Sacramento for the returning Brett Anderson. The A’s also have A.J. Griffin who should be ready to return from the DL fairly soon as well.
Colon had been pitching quite well since his reinstatement from the DL, and had just won his 10th game of the season, reaching double digits for the first time since 2005. But it’s not that crazy to think he had a little extra help, its not normal for a man of his size and his age to be able to throw the ball like he was this year. We may have forgotten but Bartolo was essentially out of baseball until he signed with the Yankees for the 2011 season and experienced some degree of a renaissance at his advanced age. Much of his rebirth as a pitcher was credited to stem cell injections in his arm, which were not in violation of the MLB drug policy. But it still seemed a little odd.
So while this news is definitely disappointing, it really can’t be called a surprise because when players experience a resurgence like this at such an age it’s hard not to wonder exactly how they’re doing it. This suspension will hurt the A’s, but they have so much pitching depth that they should be able to absorb this blow and continue their run towards the postseason. I’m sure there is a large sentiment of shock and disappointment running through the A’s clubhouse as they prepare to take on the Minnesota Twins this afternoon, but as they have before they will just have to band together and continue winning as a team just like they have all season. It will be okay.
For Bartolo, this could be the end of his 15 year career.
The A’s have to scramble to find a starting pitcher for tomorrow night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays though since Straily was just sent down and can’t come back prior to the 10 days requirement due to a suspension. One would figure then Tyson Ross will get the call to make a spot start since Travis Blackley worked 5.2 innings on Monday night. The A’s should be able to get Straily back in the rotation next week sometime, but Blackley will be a strong candidate to make another start sometime before then.
The A’s must refocus on the task at hand, they have a game in just over an hour.