Sometimes when I read the news, I will put things aside in my head to talk about on my blog later, often I forget about these many stories until something jogs my sluggish memory. Watching the Yankees 2nd best pitcher shut down the Indians this afternoon I was reminded of how Bartolo has re-emerged from a broken down ace back to a Cy Young candidate ( well, maybe not).
It's all about stem cells.
Colon won the Cy Young in 2005 while with the L.A. Angels, he won 21 games while striking out 157 and keeping a 3.48 ERA. Then in a playoff series against the Yankees, Colon suffered a partially torn rotator cuff and hadn't pitched a full (or adequate) season since then. Before signing with the Angels in 2004, Colon was a feared pitcher for the Indians and Expos. In his last stint with the White Sox in 2009 he was 3-6 with an ERA over 4 in another injury shortened season. So, what did Bartolo do? Stem cell treatment.
Dr. Joseph Purita, saw Bartolo in April 2010 and took bone marrow stem cells from his (Colon's) hip and injected them into his ailing shoulder. The result so far? 5-3 (should be 7-3 but bull pen fell apart) with a 3.10 ERA and 72 strike outs, he's even had a complete game where he was still throwing in the mid 90's in the 9th inning. He is averaging 8 K's per 9 innings, not bad for an overweight 38 year old, washed up ace.
Why does one have to go to the Dominican Republic for such a treatment? Isn't America supposed to be the leader in medical science and treatment? . While Colon’s was a journey home, many Americans seeking stem cell treatment journey to countries that are completely strange to them.China is one popular destination, though there are stem cell clinics soliciting American patients in countries such as Panama, Mexico, Germany and Malaysia.
Baseball is looking into this because Dr. Purita has been wrapped up in using Human Growth Hormone therapy also, which is banned by baseball. Did Colon receive this treatment also? No one knows and no one can prove otherwise. The stem cell transplant therapy has many side affects and is not proven to always work, so did it this time? Or will Bartolo soon be diagnosed with cancer (a possible side affect). I hope he did heal from this stem cell therapy. Think of what it could mean to millions of ailing patients who cannot afford to travel to China or The Dominican for treatment.
Is Colon a pioneer or just a fat fraud who's pumped up on HGH?
We may never know...