Colon arrives to A’s camp, along with SS Nakajima

Shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima made a point of walking across the

clubhouse to greet pitcher Bartolo Colon.

The new face of the Oakland Athletics’ infield, and an old,

familiar one.

Nakajima arrived in the desert Jan. 31 to get acclimated and

acquainted with his teammates, while Colon showed up Monday eager

and thankful for his own version of a fresh start. The right-hander

received a 50-game suspension last August for a positive

testosterone test and missed out on the thrilling finish to 2012 as

the A’s rallied back over the final 10 games to steal the AL West

crown away from Texas on the season’s final day.

Colon still must sit out the first five games of the regular

season to complete his penalty. Now nearly 40 – his birthday is May

24 – he received a $3 million, one-year deal in November.

”Nueva temporada,” he said in Spanish – a new season.

”I’m happy,” he said in English.

The pitcher has yet to formally address the media since his Aug.

22 suspension, and gave no indication that he would do so any time

soon.

”We know Bartolo and he knows us,” pitcher Jarrod Parker said.

”We don’t need him to prove or make any statements or anything

like that. We know who he is and how good he is out on the field.

So we’re not pushing him for anything and I know he’s going to

address us, and he’ll do it as he wants to.”

Colon alternately clapped his hands to his thighs and talked

aloud to no one in particular as he crossed the field just in front

of the mound through a heavy rain to have his physical in the

visiting clubhouse. He re-emerged some 90 minutes later.

How’d it go? ”I don’t know,” he said, raising his hands and

shaking his head as he walked back, gathered his belongings and

left Phoenix Municipal Stadium for the day.

Manager Bob Melvin isn’t worried about Colon getting right back

in the flow with his teammates.

”He fit in very well here before and I see that being the same

case,” Melvin said. ”He knows most of these guys and they all

liked him very much and got along with them all and actually was a

nice little resource for our younger starters. So, I don’t see any

problems there.”

With his suspension, Colon lost the remaining $469,945 of his $2

million base salary for last season. He also earned $750,000 in

performance bonuses based on starts and $150,000 based on innings,

which were not impacted by the suspension.

The Miami New Times reported late last month that Colon and

other major leaguers bought human growth hormone and other

performance-enhancing drugs during 2009-12 from Biogenesis of

America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables.

Colon’s teammates say they have moved on from the suspension,

even if he won’t be available for the first five games this

year.

”I love Bartolo. It’s awesome,” closer Grant Balfour said. ”I

just gave him a hug right there and said, `I’m glad they signed you

back.’ He was a huge part of our team. That was a misfortunate

toward the end of the year. You think to yourself, `Hey, if we had

had him,’ because he’s a great player. He was missed. … 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 for the rest of

their life.”

A two-time All-Star with a 171-122 career record, the burly

right-hander went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts for Oakland

last season, his 15th in the majors. He won the 2005 AL Cy Young

Award after going 21-8 for the Angels.

Nakajima said hello to Colon and several others on Day 1.

The shortstop is thrilled to be done with 7-hour spring training

days in Japan that include just a 15-minute break for lunch.

”They make you push and your body is very sore,” he said

through interpreter Hiroo Nishi. ”I really wonder how it’s going

to be. This two months is going to be a very important

experimentation period for me. I just can’t wait to get my arms

through the uniform. I can’t wait to get started.”

He spent the past two weeks getting to know his teammates in the

desert before the first workout for pitchers and catchers Tuesday.

The full squad doesn’t practice together until Sunday, though many

position players are already in camp.

Nakajima wants to leave little to chance, getting a head start

in everything from fielding grounders and taking batting practice

as he adjusts to his new baseball surroundings.

”He’s smart. He knows that getting here early and getting to

know everybody will cut down on the time where he feels like he has

to fit in,” said Melvin, reigning AL Manager of the Year. ”It’s

something we’re very cognizant of. It’s not easy to come over from

another country and be expected to do what you do on the field and

still have to get acclimated to all the other things, and I think

he’s combatting that by getting here early and learning quite a few

things.”

Also Monday, free agent left-hander Hideki Okajima agreed to a

minor league contract with the A’s pending a physical, which could

take place as soon as Tuesday, a person with knowledge of the

negotiations said.

Notes: RHP Michael Ynoa is still in the Dominican Republic with

chicken pox, delaying the start to his first big league camp. It

could be six to 10 days, Melvin said. … RHP reliever Andrew

Carignan threw off a mound twice last week for his first bullpen

sessions – 20 pitches each – since undergoing Tommy John elbow

ligament replacement surgery June 19. ”It’s a big step,” he said.

”It’s probably the biggest one I’ve had since June.” … 1B/DH

Daric Barton is sporting a three-month-old beard, which he trimmed

Monday morning. ”Sometimes I find a little peanut butter and jelly

in it,” he said. … LHP Travis Blackley added more than 20 hours’

worth of new tattoos. The Australian had color added to existing

body ink on his left leg and right arm. ”I got a few. I don’t

count them in numbers,” he said. ”They all blend in. I stayed

away from the neck. I’ll stay away from that real estate for a

while.” … INF Scott Sizemore and wife, Brooke, are awaiting the

birth of their baby girl – likely within the week. Sizemore

suffered a season-ending left knee injury during the first

full-squad spring workout last year and underwent surgery to repair

a torn anterior cruciate ligament.