Programming note: A’s-Mets coverage starts today at 3:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
The A’s first game of the season in a National League ballpark happens to pit them against a very familiar face on the mound.
Bartolo Colon takes the hill for the New York Mets in Tuesday’s series opener against the A’s at Citi Field.
Oh, the storylines.
Colon will be matched up against left-hander Scott Kazmir, the man who signed a two-year $22 million contract with Oakland to basically replace Colon as the seasoned veteran of the starting rotation.
Surely there will be a few grins exchanged between A’s hitters and Colon. He was a light-hearted character and one of the most popular teammates in Oakland’s clubhouse during back-to-back American League West championships, even after his 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs that kept him out of the 2012 postseason.
“We’ve seen this one on the schedule for a while, and I’m sure he’s looking forward to it too,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Colon, who won 28 games for the A’s from 2012-13, is 7-5 with a 3.88 ERA after signing a two-year $20 million contract with the Mets over the offseason.
Curious how the portly right-hander has done with the bat this season? He is 1 for 27. His lone hit came June 18 when he slapped a ball down the left-field line against the Atlanta Braves and rumbled into second with a double.
Melvin was asked what it will be like seeing Colon on the mound against his team.
“I’m looking forward to watching him hit,” Melvin countered with a grin. “We may walk Bartolo intentionally a couple of times just to get him on the base paths, see him run around a little bit.”
A’s catcher Derek Norris, behind the plate for many of Colon’s start in an A’s uniform, said he and his teammates have a pretty good idea of what to expect from him.
“You know you’re going to get fastballs. It’s just a matter of which one he’s going to give you or how it’s gonna move,” Norris said. “When you face a guy like that who throws a lot of fastballs, he’s gonna work in and out, up and down.”