A's Lose Colon To Drug Ban

The Oakland A's chances at a post-season run took a hit on Wednesday when it was announced that veteran starter Bartolo Colon will be suspended for 50 games following a violation of the MLB drug prevention program. The 50-game suspension will through the rest of the regular season.

Last week, it was the San Francisco Giants who were in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Now it is their Bay Area neighbors. A week after Giants' All-Star Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone, Oakland A's starter Bartolo Colon was suspended for the same violation. The suspension will leave the A's without their most experienced and most consistent starter for the remainder of the regular season.

Colon was signed by the A's during the off-season to a one-year free agent contract. The former AL Cy Young award winner had made headlines last season with the New York Yankees when he made a successful comeback after missing the entire 2010 season due to arm problems. Colon famously used a stem cell procedure to help heal his ailing arm, a procedure that was reportedly investigated at the time and found to be in compliance with the league's anti-doping policy.

This season, Colon has arguably been the A's best starting pitcher, or at the very least the team's most consistent starter. In 24 starts, Colon has a 3.43 ERA and a 2.8 WAR. He has shown remarkable command of the strike-zone and has only walked 23 batters this season. Colon is 10-9 on the year.

The A's were likely counting on the veteran to be a stabilizing presence down-the-stretch. He is the only A's pitcher with significant post-season experience. In nine starts in the post-season, Colon has a 3.61 ERA.

The A's haven't announced a move to replace Colon on the roster and in the rotation yet. Rehabbing right-hander A.J. Griffin is a candidate, although the A's want Griffin to make two rehab starts before he returns from a shoulder injury. Tyson Ross would be on-turn to replace Colon in the rotation and has been throwing well for Sacramento.

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