Chris Colabello’s journey back to the Majors is taking longer than expected.
Colabello, who played 101 games with the Toronto Blue Jays last season, wasn’t called up to the big club after returning from an 80-game suspension for PEDs. He was optioned to Buffalo by the Blue Jays on July 25, meaning he’ll be with the Bisons for the time being.
The 32-year-old first baseman had a breakout campaign in 2015, hitting .321 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs. However, he spent a majority of his career in the minors up until that point, only hitting .194 and .227 in two 50-plus game seasons with the Minnesota Twins. That made the rise in production suspicious despite Colabello vehemently denying the PED allegations.
At first base Toronto opted to stick with Justin Smoak, who is hitting a pedestrian .237. Colabello spent some time in the outfield last year as well, but that’s a crowded group with Toronto’s acquisition of Melvin Upton Jr.
“It is what it is,” Colabello said. “I just want to play baseball. … I would play baseball in a men’s league if they let me. I don’t really care.”
His performance in Buffalo while waiting for his suspension to run out didn’t exactly demand a call-up either. He was hitting .172 in eight games with the Herd going into Thursday night’s 5-3 loss to Syracuse.
“It’s like going back to spring training when you take that much time off,” Colabello said. “It’s just a matter of coming back and going to the drawing board.
“The way I would describe it is you can have a lot of out of body experiences when you get back to hitting because things go a lot faster. You start getting in a rush and your body is moving fast.”
On Thursday, things started to click. Colabello went 3 for 4 against the Chiefs, hitting two singles and his second home run of the year to right field. The homer was a no-doubter, as he caught the fastball he was looking for.
“I’m just trying to get back to being myself,” Colabello said. “Things have been going pretty fast for me. One good at bat, then one bad at bat. One good at bat, then three bad at bats. It’s just a matter of getting back to being consistent.”
Although it’s been a turbulent year for Colabello, he’s not in unfamiliar territory. He’s back in the spot he’s been in for a majority of his career – trying to prove he’s good enough for a major league job.
“Obviously the end goal is to be in the big leagues for as long as possible,” Colabello said. “I’m just excited to go out and play every day. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.”