Bartolo Colon, the Oakland Athletics pitcher suspended Wednesday for testing positive for testosterone, had his best year in baseball after training with a reputed steroid supplier, according to Major League Baseball's Mitchell Report on the game’s steroids era.
In 2005, when he won the Cy Young Award while pitching for the Los Angeles Angels, Colon worked out with personal trainer Angel “Nao” Presinal, according to the report. At the time, Presinal had been “declared a pariah” and banned from baseball clubhouses because of his ties to banned drugs, according to the report.
The 2007 report, written by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, did not tie Colon to the use of steroids.
But it mentioned Colon in a narrative concerning suspected steroid distribution by Presinal, who was described as a “prominent personal trainer for a number of professional baseball players, operating out of facilities in the Dominican Republic.”
According to the report, Presinal was linked to steroids in 2001, when Canadian authorities at the Toronto airport discovered a duffel bag containing steroids and syringes among luggage belonging to the Cleveland Indians, who were in town to play the Blue Jays. Presinal was in Toronto because he was a personal trainer for Juan Gonzalez, the Indians’ slugging outfielder.
In an interview with an Indians security officer, Presinal admitted that he had packed the bag of steroids but said they belonged to Gonzalez. The security officer said Presinal admitted supplying steroids to other major leaguers as well, but Presinal later denied saying any such thing, according to the report.
The Indians referred the matter to the office of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, but no action was taken, Mitchell wrote. The following year, when Gonzalez played for the Texas Rangers, Presinal turned up in the Rangers’ clubhouse. At that point, baseball’s security department ordered him banned from the Rangers' ballpark.
Nevertheless, the Mitchell Report said Presinal continued to work as a trainer for players, including Colon.
In a 2005 feature story, the Los Angeles Times reported that Colon, then with the Angels, had brought Presinal with him to California and rented him an apartment in Orange County. Presinal had created a workout routine for Colon to help the pitcher control his weight, which had ballooned to 255 pounds, the story said.
Presinal traveled with Colon when the Angels were on the road to supervise the workouts, the story said. That year, Colon won a career-best 21 games, won the Cy Young Award as the American League’s best pitcher and led the Angels to the playoffs, where they lost the AL Championship Series to the White Sox.
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