NEW YORK -- New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he was not surprised when he heard that former Yankees Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon failed drug tests and were suspended for 50 games.
"Unfortunately, not surprised," Cashman said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "Michael Kay Show" after co-host Don La Greca asked about his impressions when he heard the news that two of his former players were found to have elevated testosterone levels.
Colon, 39, played for the Yankees last season. After only pitching in 257 innings the previous five years -- and not pitching at all in 2010 -- Colon came to camp with his old 90-plus mph fastball in 2011.
Before that season, Colon had unique surgery on his elbow in the Dominican Republic in which stem cell and fat-bone marrow were used. The doctor who performed the surgery had utilized human growth hormone in the past, but both he and Colon denied that was the case during the procedure.
Colon went 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA. The Yankees did not re-sign Colon and he ended up with Oakland Athletics.
"You see some spike in performance," Cashman said. "You hope it's not the case, but you scratch your head and you wonder at the same time. But then you sit there and get a comfort level: Tests are taking place, so if people are passing their tests ...
"In Bartolo's case, as well as he has done last year as well through this year, at his age, after coming back from that surgery, makes you scratch your head."
Since then, Cabrera has played for the Royals and Giants, transforming himself from a marginal player to an MVP candidate. Even though Cashman likes Cabrera, it made him wonder.
"When we traded him to Atlanta we had him as a low-end, everyday regular or an excellent fourth outfielder," Cashman said of Cabrera. "And that's how we show where we thought his ceiling was. As you know, he was starting for us in the World Series, but we had him as a low-end, everyday guy, not a National League MVP candidate. So I wasn't surprised."