Bartolo Colon makes his first start since a 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone on Saturday when the Oakland Athletics play the middle test of a three-game series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Colon had been 10-9 with a 3.43 earned run average in 24 starts for the A's when he tested positive for an elevated testosterone level. The 39-year-old was leading Oakland in wins and ERA at the time of his ban.
The right-hander's 10 victories were his most since 2005, the year Colon captured the American League Cy Young Award with a 21-win campaign for the Angels, while his ERA was the second-lowest mark of his 15-year career.
However, he struggled this spring. Despite issuing just one walk, and striking out 22 in 20 Cactus League innings Colon allowed 31 hits and 14 earned runs in that same span.
"The velocity's still there, his stuff all looks the same," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "He's the type of guy that, once the season gets going, he's one of the few guys you know that what you see in spring is what you get.
"A veteran presence within the rotation, we don't worry about him a whole lot."
Colon has faced the Astros six times and is 3-2 with a 3.54 ERA against them.
Houston will counter with righty Bud Norris, who was solid in his debut on Sunday versus Texas. Norris limited the high-powered Rangers' lineup to just two runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings to get the win. He also walked three batters and fanned five.
This will be Norris' first-ever start against the A's.
Oakland got off to a quick start in this series on Friday, as Coco Crisp went 3-for-5 with a solo home run, three RBI and two runs scored to help the A's to an 8-3 win.
Josh Donaldson drove in two runs while John Jaso added a pair of hits along with an RBI and a run scored for the Athletics, who split a four-game series with Seattle to start the season.
Dan Straily (1-0) gave up two runs on five hits with a career-high 11 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings to get the win.
"He pounded his fastball tonight, threw his breaking ball when he had to but was aggressive," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin on his starter's performance.
Jose Altuve had two hits and an RBI while Matt Dominguez and Marwin Gonzalez also drove in a run for the Astros, who won their season opener on Sunday but then dropped the next two games against the Rangers.
Brad Peacock (0-1) was touched for two runs on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
"It's the first time I've been out there in a while," said Peacock. "Just tried to throw to hard maybe."
Oakland's only previous trip to Houston came in an interleague series in 2007, and the A's took two of three.