Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello, who spent seven years buried in minor-league baseball’s nether-regions, has had his major-league career put on hold for 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
Colabello, who at 32 has played just 225 games in the majors, will lose US$227,891 of his $521,126 major league salary.
Colabello said he was mystified by the positive test, which the commissioner’s office said was for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone. Sold under the name Turinabol, it’s the same anabolic steroid that caused Philadelphia pitcher Daniel Stumpf to be disciplined last week.
“On March 13, I got one of the scariest and most definitely the least expected phone calls of my entire life,” he said in a statement issued Friday by the Major League Baseball Players Association. “I was informed by the Players Association that a banned substance was found in my urine. I have spent every waking moment since that day trying to find an answer as to why or how? The only thing I know is that I would never compromise the integrity of the game of baseball. I love this game too much! I care too deeply about it.
“I am saddened more for the impact this will have on my teammates, the organization and the fans of the Toronto Blue Jays. I hope that before anyone passes judgement on me they can take a look at the man that I am, and everything that I have done to get to where I am in my career.”
Ross Atkins, Toronto’s GM and executive vice-president of baseball operations, said his initial reaction was a combination of “empathy (and) extreme disappointment.”
“Chris is, as you guys know, a remarkable person,” Atkins told reporters. “It’s something that was extremely difficult for him and very emotional. (He was) very concerned about what it means for him moving forward and mostly what he expressed was how much he feels disappointed for the team.”
Colabello is the sixth player suspended this year under the MLB drug program. New York Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia received a permanent ban following a third positive test, and Cleveland outfielder Abraham Almonte, Cincinnati outfielder Juan Duran, free-agent catcher Taylor Teagarden and Stumpf were suspended for 80 games each.
Colabello is batting just .069 this year. But he was a key contributor to the Jays last season when he hit .321 for the Blue Jays with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs.