Bartolo Colon showed up Monday eager and thankful for his version of a fresh start. The right-hander received a 50-game suspension last August for a positive testosterone test and missed out on the thrilling finish to 2012 as the A's rallied back over the final 10 games to steal the AL West crown away from Texas on the season's final day.
Colon still must sit out the first five games of the regular season to complete his penalty.
Nearly 40 — his birthday is May 24 — he received a $3 million, one-year deal in November.
"Nueva temporada," he said in Spanish — a new season.
"I'm happy," he said in English.
The pitcher has yet to formally address the media since his Aug. 22 suspension, and gave no indication that he would do so any time soon.
"We know Bartolo and he knows us," pitcher Jarrod Parker said. "We don't need him to prove or make any statements or anything like that. We know who he is and how good he is out on the field. So we're not pushing him for anything and I know he's going to address us, and he'll do it as he wants to."
Colon alternately clapped his hands to his thighs and talked aloud to no one in particular as he crossed the field just in front of the mound through a heavy rain to have his physical in the visiting clubhouse. He re-emerged some 90 minutes later.
How'd it go? "I don't know," he said, raising his hands and shaking his head as he walked back, gathered his belongings and left Phoenix Municipal Stadium for the day.
Manager Bob Melvin isn't worried about Colon getting right back in the flow with his teammates.
"He fit in very well here before and I see that being the same case," Melvin said. "He knows most of these guys and they all liked him very much and got along with them all and actually was a nice little resource for our younger starters. So, I don't see any problems there."
With his suspension, Colon lost the remaining $469,945 of his $2 million base salary for last season. He also earned $750,000 in performance bonuses based on starts and $150,000 based on innings, which were not impacted by the suspension.
The Miami New Times reported late last month that Colon and other major leaguers bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs during 2009-12 from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables.
Colon's teammates say they have moved on from the suspension, even if he won't be available for the first five games this year.
"I love Bartolo. It's awesome," closer Grant Balfour said. "I just gave him a hug right there and said, 'I'm glad they signed you back.' He was a huge part of our team. That was a misfortunate toward the end of the year. You think to yourself, 'Hey, if we had had him,' because he's a great player. He was missed. ... He's a strike-throwing machine. I've got no hard feelings. It's over. It is what it is. You can't hold grudges on people for the rest of their life."
A two-time All-Star with a 171-122 career record, the burly right-hander went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts for Oakland last season, his 15th in the majors. He won the 2005 AL Cy Young Award after going 21-8 for the Angels.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.
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