A's welcome Colon back into clubhouse

A's welcome Colon back into clubhouse

PHOENIX -- Bartolo Colon's arrival at A's camp on Monday proved much quieter than his departure from the team last August, when the right-hander was slapped with a 50-game drug suspension after testing positive for testosterone.

Colon was subsequently forced to watch from afar as the A's capped their miraculous season with a division title, but he was invited to rejoin the mix in November via a one-year deal worth $3 million.

The veteran starter, who will turn 40 in May, has yet to address the media since his Aug. 22 suspension and again declined to do so Monday, giving no indication that he would oblige any time soon. That left his teammates to do the talking for him, and much support was offered.

"I love Bartolo," closer Grant Balfour said. "I just gave him a hug and said, 'I'm glad they signed you back,' because he was a huge part of our team. It was a misfortune toward the end of the year and you think to yourself, 'If we had had him, what if?' He's a great player and he was missed, but I'm glad to have him back. 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 the rest of their lives. What are you going to do? He's our teammate, and we're going to be right there with him. I'm sure he, himself, wants to do more than ever to make it up to us. I don't know what his feelings are, but if I could put myself in his shoes, I'd be thinking that way."

Similar sentiments were shared around the clubhouse, and it seems Colon's teammates do not expect him to give them a formal apology.

"We know Bartolo and he knows us," starter Jarrod Parker said. "We don't need him to make any statement or anything like that. We know who he is and how good he is out on the field."

"He's a professional," Balfour said. "I don't think anyone needs to hear that. You'll see it."

Colon, who went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts last year, still must serve the remaining five games on his suspension at season's start. Moreover, his name was one of many to surface in last month's Miami New Times' expose of a performance-enhancing drugs ring in South Florida, and should investigations by Major League Baseball lead to further proof of extended drug use by Colon, he could face another lengthy suspension.

Manager Bob Melvin is ready to proceed without worry over such matters, though.

"I'll let MLB comment on that," Melvin said. "Our plan is to get him ready for a season here in Spring Training. He fit in very well before, and I see that being the same case. He knows these guys and got along with them well and was actually a nice little resource for our young starters, so I don't see any problems there."

Added lefty Brett Anderson: "You can't really hold a grudge. That's not going to do anyone any good, if there are any grudges on the team. You have to put it behind you and when he comes back pretend it didn't happen and just hope he can help us win ballgames like he did last year."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.