PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Joel Peralta leaned back in his chair and spoke about Alex Colome’s regret.
It was Tuesday morning in the Tampa Bay Rays’ clubhouse at Charlotte Sports Park, another day of spring training in its early hours. Peralta has become a mentor to many of the Rays’ young players from the Dominican Republic, and his relationship with Colome is no different.
On Monday, Major League Baseball suspended Colome 50 games for testing positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid commonly applied for veterinary use. Peralta, a reliever, had spoken with Colome about the suspension. Less than a day after it became official, he knew his young colleague carried remorse.
"I talked to him, and he didn’t even know that that’s going to happen," Peralta said, referencing the suspension. "He didn’t know he was doing something like that."
With the ruling, there are two negative outcomes, one for Colome and another for the Rays’ pitching depth. Colome, part of Tampa Bay’s organization since 2007, has only made three major-league appearances and holds a career 1-1 record with a 2.25 ERA. This spring, the prospect received light work, allowing one hit with one strikeout in one inning. Still, these weeks were an opportunity to make an impression on Rays manager Joe Maddon and others within the franchise.
Meanwhile, for the Rays, this is a hit to their pitching flexibility. With left-hander Erik Bedard’s release Tuesday to allow him to seek starting chances elsewhere, Colome would have been a convenient option for the Rays in that role. Colome’s absence limits their choices.
"Colome not being available right here — he’s a guy that we were counting on in that particular role being the sixth or seventh starter," Maddon said.
Of course, there’s still that chance. Colome’s 50-game suspension counts toward his time in the minors, which will include heavy time at Triple-A Durham, where he’s 4-7 with a 3.10 ERA with 87 strikeouts the past two seasons.
As Peralta lounged at his locker, he understood Colome had missed a chance. The veteran said the young pitcher was "really sad" and that he told Colome "he did that in the past and from now on, be honest about it."
Colome, in time, can begin to repair his image.
"I had no idea that was going to happen," Peralta said. "It’s really sad that it’s at the point of what happened. Sometimes, those kids — they don’t have the experience say ‘no’ and just try things. But it’s too bad."
MATT MOORE UPDATE
ATampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Moore sits in the dugout with a swollen and stitched lip.
The worst appears behind left-hander Matt Moore, who deflected a liner with his glove Sunday at JetBlue Park against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla.
A fourth-inning hit off the bat of Xander Bogaerts smacked Moore in the face, though not at full impact, and it caused a cut and swollen lip on the fourth-year player. Tuesday, the swelling had decreased on the bottom-left side of Moore’ mouth, and he said nothing was too painful aside from a jaw that was "just a little sore."
"It’s not really painful, to be honest," Moore said. "It just kind of feels like somebody stuck a piece of gauze in your lip, and it’s not going away. There’s really little pain. I’ve been lucky to not have too much of that. That’s about it."
Moore said he played long toss Monday, in addition to completing a leg workout and receiving arm treatment. He planned to throw a bullpen session Tuesday with hopes of taking the mound again Friday. Maddon was optimistic that Moore could pitch Friday as well.
A representative for the isoBLOX Protective Cap was present at Rays camp Tuesday, five days after left-hander Alex Cobb was critical of the pace of the release.
Last season, Cobb missed two months after a liner off the bat of the Kansas City Royals’ Eric Hosmer gave him a mild concussion. He has been open to wearing the cap, which is designed to absorb the impact of a baseball traveling 90 mph.
Cobb’s take on the hat? More work must be done, but these opening steps are movement in the right direction.
"I think it’s not practical right now," Cobb said. "I do think it’s way too big, too heavy. But they have already addressed that being an issue, and they know that’s a problem that they have to work around. They’re going around camps and getting feedback and ideas from guys. They’re taking a big interest in our opinions. So when they do go back to the drawing board, they’ll have a better idea of what we do want."
The Rays’ Opening Day festivities will include the raising of their 2013 American League wild card banner on the left-field catwalk at Tropicana Field, the team announced Tuesday.
In the past six years, Tampa Bay has advanced to the playoffs four times. Only the Philadelphia Phillies (four), St. Louis Cardinals (four) and New York Yankees (four) have matched that postseason consistency in the span.