Colabello PED suspension a mess for Blue Jays

By: Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

Cheating, is that what it is, but with Chris Colabello, who was suspended for 80 games Thursday, it's too much to hear.

CFTO sportscaster Lance Brown, with the network now known as CTV Toronto, mentioned tonight that these kinds of things have been going for many years and he mentioned 1988. Yes, 1988.

Brown didn’t mention Canadian runner Ben Johnson, who lost his gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics because he tested positive with a drug test.

Colabello is/was a journeyman when all of the sudden, he spurted to quasi-stardom with the Blue Jays last season, hitting .321 with 15 homers and 54 RBI. Was it due to PEDs? Maybe. Coincidental? Maybe. .321? How does a journeyman all of a sudden hit .321?

Colabello, 32, said in a prepared statement today that he received a phone call March 13 during spring training that there was a problem with an urine test he had given. He was shocked. He apparently tried to have it overturned on appeal with no luck.

Wouldn’t you think that the people at Major League Baseball were possibly suspicious that Colabello all of a sudden produced these magical kind of numbers in 2015 so maybe they should check up on him with some random tests? You bet.

I have written a number of times on Colabello in the last few weeks, all about his contract status next season when he could become a Super 2 arbitration player and that he has one minor-league option remaining on his contract. His agent Brian Charles even talked to me.

I texted Charles at 7 p.m. tonight but he never responded. Does the small-time, unknown agent want to represent Colabello anymore after this fiasco? Colabello is Charles’ only known big-league client of any sort. 

As it stands now, Colabello loses almost $228,000 out of this year’s salary of $521,000 and change. Was the possibility of a suspension hanging over this head, one of the reasons why Colabello had only two hits in 29 at-bats so far this season? The stress was probably too much for him.

Do the Blue Jays want to have anything to do with Colabello once the suspension is served? Probably not. Today, all the Jays want to do is support Colabello but deep down, they must be peeved off at him, no matter what the kind of person he might be in the clubhouse.

What a mess. 

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Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: dannogallagher@rogers.com