PHOENIX — Shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima made a point of walking across the clubhouse to greet pitcher Bartolo Colon.
The new face of the A’s infield, and an old, familiar one.
Nakajima arrived in the desert Jan. 31 to get acclimated and acquainted with his teammates, while Colon showed up Monday eager and thankful for his own version of a fresh start. The right-hander received a 50-game suspension last August for a positive testosterone test and missed out on the thrilling finish to 2012 as the A’s rallied back over the final 10 games to steal the AL West crown away from Texas on the season’s final day.
Colon still must sit out the first five games of the regular season to complete his penalty. Now nearly 40 — his birthday is May 24 — he received a $3 million, one-year deal in November.
“Nueva temporada,” he said in Spanish — a new season.
“I’m happy,” he said in English.
The pitcher has yet to formally address the media since his Aug. 22 suspension, and gave no indication that he would do so any time soon.
“We know Bartolo and he knows us,” pitcher Jarrod Parker said. “We don’t need him to prove or make any statements or anything like that.
Nakajima said hello to Colon and several others on Day 1.
The shortstop is thrilled to be done with 7-hour spring training days in Japan that include just a 15-minute break for lunch.
“They make you push and your body is very sore,” he said through interpreter Hiroo Nishi. “I really wonder how it’s going to be. This two months is going to be a very important experimentation period for me. I just can’t wait to get my arms through the uniform. I can’t wait to get started.”
He spent the past two weeks getting to know his teammates in the desert before the first workout for pitchers and catchers today. The full squad doesn’t practice together until Sunday, though many position players are already in camp.
Notes: Right-hander Michael Ynoa is still in the Dominican Republic with chicken pox, delaying the start to his first big league camp. It could be six to 10 days, Melvin said. ... Right-handed reliever Andrew Carignan threw off a mound twice last week for his first bullpen sessions — 20 pitches each — since undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery June 19. “It’s a big step,” he said. “It’s probably the biggest one I’ve had since June.”
Okajima, A’s reach minor league deal
PHOENIX — Free agent left-hander Hideki Okajima has agreed to a minor league contract with the A’s, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said Monday. The deal is pending a physical, which could take place as soon as today. Okajima spent the 2007-11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, then signed a minor league deal with the New York Yankees and was released at the start of spring training when he failed a physical. — AP