Stem Cells, ligament damage, and Bartolo Colon’s arm

Word spread quickly back at the beginning of the season when Buster Olney tweeted this:

@Buster_ESPN Something happened to Bartolo Colon. He unaged five or six years. Good lord, he’s throwing the heck out of the ball.

Something happened, alright. When the NY Times writes something (Yankees or non-Yankees material) it’s a story:

A doctor in Florida would like to take some of the credit. Joseph R. Purita, an orthopedic surgeon who runs a regenerative medicine clinic in Boca Raton, said he and a team of Dominican doctors that he led treated Colon in April 2010. Purita said he employed what he regards as one of his more pioneering techniques: he used fat and bone marrow stem cells from Colon, injecting them back into Colon’s elbow and shoulder to help repair ligament damage and a torn rotator cuff.

Purita said he flew to the Dominican Republic and performed the procedures for free, doing it at the behest of a medical technology company based in Massachusetts that he has done business with for several years. Purita, who has used human growth hormone in such treatments, said in an interview that that he had not done so in Colon’s case. The use of human growth hormone is banned by baseball.

“This is not hocus-pocus,” Purita said in an interview here. “This is the future of sports medicine, in particular. Here it is that I got a guy back playing baseball and throwing pitches at 95 miles an hour.”

Clearly, this is in that gray-area and those surrounding baseball aren’t sure where to categorize it. We’re in an age where these types of treatments are frowned upon, because it’s not exactly sticking your hand in a barrel of rice and squeezing to get the thunder bolt to come back in your right arm. It’s not ‘natural’. But is it a PED? No, it’s not.

Leave it to Bartolo Colon–a girthed man who looks like he has survived on Krispy Kreme milkshakes for a decade from a third world country–to uncover this type of method of getting your career back.

Baseball is thinking to themselves ‘what are we going to do if every damn Steve Karsay and Todd Van Poppel wants to inject stem cells into their shoulder to get their 95 MPH fastball back?’.

We’re guessing that Colon gets away with it. He’ll be grandfathered in and enjoy another few seasons in the sun. But mark our words, as this presses on this method of recuperation will be outlawed by the suits.