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Brian Cashman on Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon suspensions: ‘Not surprised’

Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon have several things in common. For starters, both were born in the Dominican Republic. Both also played for the Yankees, and both have been suspended by the MLB for 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Their former GM, Brian Cashman, spoke candidly about their suspensions on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, not surprised,” the Yankees GM said on “The Michael Kay Show” when asked about the suspensions. “You see some spike in performance. You hope it’s not the case, but you scratch your head and you wonder at the same time. But then you sit there and get a comfort level: Tests are taking place, so if people are passing their tests …

“In Bartolo’s case, as well as he has done last year as well through this year, at his age, after coming back from that surgery, makes you scratch your head.”

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You mean Bartolo Colon’s improbable career turnaround was illegitimate?

Who didn’t see that one coming? 39-year-old Bartolo Colon, who leads the A’s in wins, ERA, and innings pitched, was suspended 50 games on Wednesday for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. I’m sure you’re shocked by this revelation.

This is the same Bartolo Colon who was out of baseball for all of 2010 after his arm practically fell off in 2009 while he was with the White Sox (he actually had an elbow injury). He had a stem-cell procedure done on his pitching arm and returned to baseball last year with the Yankees after having success in the Dominican Winter League.

He went 8-10 over 26 starts with the Yankees last year, posting a 4.00 ERA. He was even better this year going 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA over 25 starts for the A’s.

I’ve long held suspicions about Colon’s comeback. The guy seemed like he was done after going 6-8 with a 6.34 ERA in 2007 with the Angels. From 2006-2009, he had so many arm problems he never topped 100 innings in a season. And then he comes back and starts pitching his best since his 2005 Cy Young-winning season? Yeah, that never added up. Oh, and Colon never deserved that Cy Young; it should have gone to Johan Santana.

There are no details about the type of performance-enhancer Colon was using, but we know he had elevated levels of testosterone which triggered the positive test. The rotund hurler is the fifth Major League player to be suspended this year for a violation, joining Melky Cabrera, Guillermo Mota, Marlon Byrd, and Freddy Galvis.

Photo Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

Bartolo Colon May Make Yankees’ Rotation

I don’t know if the Yankees brought in Pedro Cerrano to perform some voodoo this spring or what, because they’ve had a lot of success waking players from the dead this month. First it was Eric Chavez who hadn’t done anything in the Majors since 2006 who had a great start to the spring. Now it’s Bartolo Colon who’s coming out of nowhere to impress.

Barcholo already made headlines here at LBS for how overweight he looked in pinstripes (check the pictures), but he actually supposedly has dropped about 40 pounds. He pitched in the Dominican Winter League and posted a 1.47 ERA in seven starts. The Yankees signed him to a minor-league deal in January and the success he had in the winter has spilled over to the spring.

Colon pitched six innings of one-run ball Monday against the Rays striking out five. In 15 innings he’s struck out 17 batters while only walking one. Can you believe it? This is the same 37-year-old Barcholo who hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2009 when he made 12 starts for the White Sox and seven the year before with the Red Sox. That was after he was a total bum the last two years of his fat contract with the Angels.

Even if Colon makes the Yankees’ rotation as the fifth starter by beating out Freddy Garcia, the injury concern looms. He’s had back, elbow, and shoulder injuries late in his 30s, and his health shouldn’t be counted on now that he’s even older. Regardless, it’s amazing to see that Colon is rising from the dead and that he may be pitching games for the Yankees before long.

Pictures: Bartolo Colon Fatter Than Ever With New York Yankees

If you’re a long-time LBS reader, you know that we have no problem with fat baseball players. In fact, most of the time the media complains about players being fat they are complaining about ones who are highly productive.  Fat pitchers even started to become a trend at one point. C.C. Sabathia, arguably the best pitcher in the American League, is always being questioned for his weight. When Buster Olney reported that he had lost weight this offseason, Brian Cashman was quick to say that he’s basically not impressed.

However, let’s not take our viewpoint to mean we don’t find it funny.  When a player has gotten as fat as Bartolo Colon over the years and is still playing baseball, you have to laugh.  Check out these Bartolo Colon fat pictures from over the years:

Hey, that’s what happens to old men. Bartolo arrived at Yankees camp weighing 267 pounds, which is particularly impressive considering he’s only 6-feet tall and was listed at 185 the last time he pitched in the majors. One thing is for certain: if the Yankees’ season is hinging on Colon’s or Freddy Garcia’s ability to lock down a spot in their five-man rotation, it could be somewhat of a down year by New York standards.

Josh Beckett the Latest of Many Pitchers to Hurt Themselves While Swinging

In MLB, there is one main difference between the American League and the National League. In the AL, designated hitters are allowed but in the NL they’re not. That means pitchers don’t have to bat in the AL so their only job is to pitch. In the NL, more is asked of the pitchers because they have to bat too. Does the AL have it right? Should pitchers only be concerned about throwing the ball and not hitting it?

This idea has been debated for years and has been sparked by the injury to Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett who was placed on the DL because of a back injury. Beckett of course hurt his back while swinging in preparation for interleague play where he’d be forced to hit. Now if this isn’t downright pathetic, I’m not quite sure what is. When you play baseball at a professional level, you should have a certain level of athleticism. Unfortunately Beckett isn’t the only pitcher who’s been hurt swinging a bat (or trying to) over the last few years. Let’s take a look at some of the pitchers who need to stay on the mound and out of the batter’s box:

American League

1. Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox – Beckett injured himself before the start of May 10th’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays by taking practice swings. Let’s examine this a little more closely shall we? Beckett was swinging the bat before a game against who? The Blue Jays? Ah, another American League team that he doesn’t have to hit against anyways. This makes my head hurt. The Red Sox said this was because the pitchers are getting ready for interleague play. The Red Sox’s first interleague game is on Sunday at Philadelphia. So, Beckett was practice swinging for a game that was 13 days away at that point? And now he’s on the DL. That is just plain dumb.

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Bartolo Colon Wasn’t Missing, He Was Just a Depressed Michael Jackson Fan

If you’re familiar with LBS, you are well-aware of our (read: my) affinity for Ozzie Guillen quotes. What can I say? The guy’s a priceless Hall of Famer who keeps me in business. Well Ozzie certainly brought his A-Game to the yard when speaking about Bartolo Colon, who was reported as “missing” by the White Sox as of Wednesday. Luckily Ozzie explained why the team was unable to locate their pitcher who was supposed to begin a rehab assignment:

“I worry about Colon because Colon was a big-time Michael Jackson fan,” Guillen said. “He maybe was in LA at his funeral, because I can’t find him. Nobody knows how big of a Michael Jackson fan Colon was. I’m serious. He might be depressed a little bit.

“To talk to Colon, you’ve got to talk to 20 different people. You got to talk to 30 different cousins, and then to his agent, who talks to his brother, his brother call his wife, his wife say he’s with Pedro, Pedro say he’s with Juan,” said Guillen, having a little fun with the subject. “I guarantee you I’ll call [President Barack] Obama, and we’ll have a talk before Colon answers the phone. Obama will put me on hold for one second.

Every one of us has that friend who’s impossible to reach just like Bartolo. It must be so frustrating for teams when this happens — you have a player under contract, under your control, and you can’t reach him. I remember when that happened to the Braves with Willy Aybar. What can you even do in those circumstances? I guess in Colon’s case, you can fire up some carne asada in Charlotte and then you’ll ensure he shows up.

Return of the Fat Boy Pitchers

Last month I was defending overweight MLB players from irrational criticism by the media. I would like to add that since the writing of the post, C.C. Sabathia has a 1.45 ERA, and Prince Fielder has five home runs and has raised his slugging percentage by 151 points, all the while being just as fat as they were the first few weeks of the season. Anyway, getting back to business, I would like to note that fat boys could be the latest trend in MLB. Witness Wednesday night in Boston and Minnesota.

Bartolo Colon made his season debut for the Red Sox going five innings of two-run ball, picking up the win in the 6-3 game. (costing me a gentleman’s bet while we’re at it). He beat the Royals by throwing his fastball from 91-94, spotting it with excellent placement. He wasn’t hit too hard and only had to go his five since the Red Sox supported him with a bunch of runs in the 5th. This is the same guy who was torched last year with the Angels because of a partially torn rotator cuff. I wonder how long his shoulder will hold up, but for now, he’s good enough to get the job done.

Meanwhile in Minnesota, another blast from the Farmer John past was handling business as well. The Fat Aruban, Sidney Ponson, who’s been an break in case of emergency starter the last three years, had yet another strong start for the Rangers. I have no idea how this guy manages to get it done, but he somehow went the distance allowing only seven baserunners all game. Ponson is 3-0 for a patchwork Rangers staff right now. He’ll only last one or two more before he starts getting bombed. But it just amazes me how as the season goes on, teams start scraping so badly because of injury that you start seeing Jody Geruts, Bartolo Colons, and Sidney Ponsons getting action. Paging David Wells, anybody?