Photos Loading
previous next
  • Darron Cummings Associated Press Bartolo Colon must sit out the first five games of the regular season to complete the 50-game suspension he received last August for a positive testosterone test.

  • Darron Cummings Associated Press Pitcher Bruce Billings was among the players to report to the A's spring training headquarters in Phoenix on Monday.

  • Darron Cummings Associated Press Hiroyuki Nakajima, center, answers reporters' questions through his interpreter, Hiroo Nishi. The infielder said he won't miss training camp in Japan, which featured long, rigorous work days.

A second chance for Colon … and a new beginning for Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 - 8:06 am

PHOENIX – Shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima made a point of walking across the clubhouse to greet pitcher Bartolo Colon.

The new face of the A's infield, and an old, familiar one.

Nakajima arrived in the desert Jan. 31 to get acclimated and acquainted with his teammates, while Colon showed up Monday eager and thankful for his own version of a fresh start.

The right-hander received a 50-game suspension last August for a positive testosterone test and missed the thrilling finish to 2012 as the A's rallied over the final 10 games to steal the American League West crown 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. Now nearly 40 – his birthday is May 24 – he received a one-year, $3 million 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 he would do so anytime 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 to have his physical in the visiting clubhouse. He re-emerged some 90 minutes later.

How did 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 (he) 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 affected by the suspension.

The Miami New Times reported late last month Colon and other major leaguers bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs during 2009 to 2012 from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.

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."

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 A.L. Cy Young Award after going 21-8 for the Angels.

Nakajima said hello to Colon and several others on Day One.

The shortstop is thrilled to be done with seven-hour spring training days in Japan that include just a 15-minute break for lunch.

"They make you push, and your body is very sore," he said through interpreter Hiroo Nishi. "I really wonder how it's going to be.

"This two months is going to be a very important experimentation period for me. I just can't wait to get my arms through the uniform. I can't wait to get started."

Nakajima spent the past two weeks getting to know his teammates in the desert before the first workout for pitchers and catchers today. The full squad doesn't practice together until Sunday, though many position players are already in camp.

Nakajima wants to leave little to chance, getting a head start in everything from fielding grounders and taking batting practice as he adjusts to his new baseball surroundings.

"He's smart. He knows that getting here early and getting to know everybody will cut down on the time where he feels like he has to fit in," said Melvin, reigning A.L. Manager of the Year. "It's something we're very cognizant of."

Also Monday, free-agent left-hander Hideki Okajima agreed to a minor league contract with the A's pending a physical, which could take place today, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said.

Notes – Right-hander Michael Ynoa is still in the Dominican Republic with chicken pox, delaying the start to his first big-league camp. It could be six to 10 days, Melvin said.

• Right-handed reliever Andrew Carignan threw off a mound twice last week for his first bullpen sessions – 20 pitches each – since undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery June 19. "It's a big step," he said. "It's probably the biggest one I've had since June."

• Infielder Scott Sizemore and his wife, Brooke, are awaiting the birth of their baby girl – likely within the week. Sizemore suffered a season-ending left knee injury during the first full-squad spring workout last year and underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Janie McCauley

Sacramento Bee Job listing powered by
Quick Job Search
Sacramento Bee Jobs »
Used Cars
Dealer and private-party ads


Price Range:
Search within:
miles of ZIP

Advanced Search | 1982 & Older