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Saturday, Dec 03, 2016

Colon returns with regrets

PHOENIX - Bartolo Colon knew he had failed a drug test for about six weeks before he got hit with a 50-game suspension last season. He made several starts for the Oakland Athletics while knowing he probably wouldn't participate in the pennant race. "I continued to pitch, but my mind wasn't good," he said. Now that Colon is back in the clubhouse at spring training with the teammates he let down, the 39-year-old right-hander knows he can only earn peace of mind and forgiveness by getting back in top form on the mound. Colon finally spoke Tuesday about his season-ending suspension for a positive testosterone test. Through a translator, the former Cy Young Award winner with 171 career victories expressed regret for his past mistakes and hope for his future.
"The only thing I can say about last year is I apologize to everybody, even the fans, the team, the front office about what happened," he said. The organization already has forgiven the veteran starter. Not only did the unlikely AL West champions re-sign Colon, they gave him a raise with a $3 million, one-year contract. "I feel loved, because Oakland gave me the opportunity to come back and be part of it again," he said. The Dominican veteran doesn't intend to call a team meeting to apologize to everybody. He said he'll speak to the A's individually. "I talked to him beforehand, and I thought that was the proper way to go about it," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "He's not a guy that wants to call a team meeting. That's not his personality, but it's his personality to deal with guys individually, and he's done that to this point. I think he's handled everything so far to this point very well." Colon still must serve the last five games this season, costing him a turn in the rotation. BRAVES: Atlanta will retire Chipper Jones' number and induct him into the team's hall of fame on June 28. The Braves announced they will hold a banquet and ceremony honoring Jones before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Jones spent his entire two-decade career with the Braves before retiring after last season. He won the National League MVP in 1999, claimed the league batting title in 2008, and was an eight-time All Star. CARDINALS: Shortstop Rafael Furcal and his injured elbow may not be ready for Saturday's first game of spring training. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny insists that shouldn't be much of a concern. "We still have a few days to figure that out," Matheny said. "He still hasn't let it go yet, so it's going to be hard to put him out there in a situation where he has to go to his backhand deep in the hole. We know he's not ready for that." Furcal is working his way back from a strained elbow ligament suffered near the end of last season. There was a concern that he'd have to undergo Tommy John surgery, but Furcal chose to try rehab instead. From what Matheny has seen so far, he's expecting Furcal to be ready to start the season. "I'm not going to have too much of a panic," he said. "We watched him really take his time last year. He showed up the first day of the season ready to go. That's what I'm expecting again." CUBS: Chicago pitcher Matt Garza has a mild side strain and is expected to miss a week of spring training camp. Garza strained his side while throwing batting practice on Sunday, when he faced batters for the first time since last July. NATIONALS: Washington pitcher Ross Detwiller will pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Detwiler, 26, will be the second Nationals pitcher to play for Team USA, joining Gio Gonzalez. Detwiler went 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA for Washington last season after earning the team's fifth starting job in spring training. PIRATES: Pittsburgh and manager Clint Hurdle officially agreed to a contract extension that runs through at least the end of the 2014 season. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal includes a club option for 2015. The 55-year-old was in the final season of a three-year deal he signed in December 2010. Pittsburgh is 151-173 in two seasons under Hurdle, including a 79-83 mark in 2012, tied for the franchise's best record in two decades. TWINS: Minnesota is being patient with Rich Harden, who is trying to win a job with the team after shoulder surgery cost him last season. A power pitcher, Harden is trying to revive his career following the operation on his rotator cuff on Jan. 31, 2012. He's with the Twins on a minor-league contract. Harden started light throwing last July and began throwing off a mound in November. YANKEES: Pitcher Phil Hughes has upper back stiffness and will be sidelined for a few days. Hughes was hurt Monday during a defensive drill covering first base.