Colon optimistic he can pitch well without PEDs

Bartolo Colon (left) talks about his suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs with the help of interpreter Ariel Prieto

PHOENIX – Bartolo Colon, whose suspension from the A’s last Aug. 22 for use of performance-enhancing drugs could have ruined the A’s season but didn’t, said he expected no adverse effects as he prepares to pitch in 2013 without any PEDs.

Asked if his 39-year-old body would hold up, Colon smiled and said through interpreter Ariel Prieto, “Yes. I feel good now.’’

He pitched a month in winter ball with good results, and the A’s are optimistic he will lend some veteran gravitas to one of the youngest pitching staffs in the game.

Colon still has five games of his 50-game suspension yet to serve, so he won’t be part of the Oakland rotation the first time through come April. But manager Bob Melvin has every expectation that Colon will be part of his five-man staff over the long-term.

Between now and then, Colon is likely to spend time going to his teammates one at a time to apologize for the PED use that led to his suspension while the A’s were in the middle of a pennant race. His departure forced younger players to step up, and step up they did as the A’s won the American League West title on the final day of the year by beating two-time AL champion Texas.

Colon said he was both sorry not to have been there and proud of his teammates.

“It was bad not to be a part of it,’’ he said. “They continued to play together, though.’’

He said that he was opting against having a team meeting to apologize.

“I’m not going to get up in front of the team to do it,’’ he said. “If I do, it will be to get in front of each player.’’

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.