When Bartolo Colon signed with the Oakland A's last year, there weren't high expectations for him.
Although he had won a Cy Young earlier in his career, he was expected to be an average middle-of-the-rotation starter in 2012.
But Colon surprised everyone in 2012, going 10-9 with a nice ERA of 3.43.
Colon's season would come to an abrupt end when he tested positive for illegal substances in the summer and was hit with a 50 game suspension. That suspension will carry over into 2013, and he will be held out of the first week of the regular season.
Coming off the suspension, it is not a sure thing that Colon will be back to his 2012 form in which he relied on his PED-fueled fastball to blow hitters away with 91 strikeouts.
When Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games, he never quite regained his prior form. In fact, he struggled so poorly that he couldn't crack the A's 25 man roster in the spring of 2012 when the A's were struggling on offense.
When Colon was suspended and Brandon McCarthy was injured late in the season, the A's showed off just how much pitching depth they had when Dan Straily and A.J. Griffin came up from Triple-A Sacramento to help carry the team down the stretch.
The A's potentially could start the season with their five-man rotation being Brett Anderson, A.J. Griffin, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and Dan Straily. Notice that Colon is the odd man out.
With his suspension costing him the first week of the season, the potential for his production to dip coming off such a long suspension and the depth that the A's have in pitching, Colon may not be on the A's 25 man roster at all.
He could find a back-door way onto the team through the bullpen perhaps, but Colon will have to fight to be in the A's starting rotation come April.
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