Colon suspended 50 games


OAKLAND, Calif. — Make it two 50-game suspensions in exactly one week — both starters for contending teams from the Bay Area, both for testosterone.

Former Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon of the Oakland Athletics was suspended for 50 games Wednesday after a positive test, joining San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera on the suspended list for the rest of the regular season.

Major League Baseball made the announcement of Colon’s penalty a week after All-Star Game MVP Cabrera received his 50-game suspension

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

‘‘I apologize to the fans, to my teammates, and to the Oakland A’s,’’ Colon said in a statement released by the players’ association. ‘‘I accept responsibility for my actions and I will serve my suspension as required by the joint drug program.’’

He will miss the final 40 games of the regular season and the first 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 contract.

‘‘It’s a shock,’’ Oakland reliever Grant Balfour said. ‘‘He’s a guy that we’re definitely relying on right now. I guess you could say it’s bad timing any time, but especially now.’’

Oakland is fighting to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006, ending Wednesday as a wild-card leader with Tampa Bay. Before the A’s 5-1 win over the Twins Wednesday afternoon, they got the news from clubhouse televisions. A closed-door team meeting was called.

‘‘The Oakland Athletics are disappointed to learn of today’s suspension,’’ the team said in a statement.

Starter Brandon McCarthy took that a little further.

‘‘You can say someone’s a good teammate, but it has to extend in all facets,’’ McCarthy said after the game. ‘‘Off the field, on the field, and how you are in the clubhouse, no matter how look at it, we’ve now lost a really important part of our team to his actions.’’

General manager Billy Beane received word from MLB earlier Wednesday and began searching 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 before the team took the field for warm-ups. ‘‘Listen, it’s disappointing. From a baseball standpoint, we’re scrambling,’’ Beane said. ‘‘We’re all disappointed, not just for the Giants and the A’s, but for baseball.’’

Colon, 39, is 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts this season, his first with the A’s, and has a 171-122 record in 15 seasons. A two-time All-Star, the burly righthander won the 2005 AL Cy Young Award after going 21-8 for the Angels.

Colon, who played for the Red Sox in 2008, will lose the remaining $469,945 of his $2 million base salary this year. He also has earned $750,000 in performance bonuses based on starts and $150,000 based on innings, which are not affected. Thursday’s start would have earned him another $250,000, and the suspension will cost him the chance to make $850,000 in additional bonuses.

Five players have been suspended this year under the big league drug program. Giants reliever Guillermo Mota was penalized 100 games in May following his second positive test and is eligible to return Aug. 28.

Phillies infielder Freddy Galvis and outfielder Marlon Byrd, who appeared in 34 games for the Red Sox this season before being released, were suspended 50 games each in June. In addition, a 50-game suspension of NL MVP Ryan Braun was overturned.

Colon did not file a grievance, a person familiar with the suspension said, speaking on condition of anonymity because that detail wasn’t announced. Also, the person said, MLB hasn’t found any links between Cabrera and Colon.

Colon has credited a stem-cell procedure two years ago for saving his career. He had fat and bone marrow stem cells collected and injected into his troublesome right elbow and shoulder in an innovative and unproven technique. Colon had no idea how it would turn out, but he responded and spent 2011 with the Yankees.