Bartolo Colon has been one of the bigger (no pun intended) surprises early this season, as the Yankees righty has had something of a renaissance in the Bronx. The former Cy Young may have a controversial and ground-breaking medical procedure to thank.
A pair of reports have surfaced detailing an interesting stem cell procedure that Colon underwent during the spring of 2010 to help repair his injured shoulder.
Colon made his return to the bigs this season, pitching for the first time since 2009, after arm problems had potentially derailed his career.
DiarioLibre.com has an initial report detailing a team of Dominican doctors that performed the process in which they took bone marrow and fatty tissue (again, not a pun) from Colon's hip that were then inserted into his shoulder.
Six weeks after that process, Colon underwent another process in which he was injected with a "booster shot," as part of a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) procedure. That injection was also referred to in the DiarioLibre.com report as a "booster shot."
The New York Times has a report documenting the works of an American doctor, Dr. Josepha Purita, who was also part of the surgical team that worked on Colon.
Purita dismissed any talks related to human-growth hormone when discussing the procedure, although he has used it on non-athletes when working in conjunction with PRP.
"This is not hocus-pocus," he told the Times. "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.
"I just won’t give it to these guys,” Purita said in regards to giving athletes HGH. "I don’t need the stigma and that kind of reputation."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the Times that New York was unaware of the procedure when they signed Colon prior to the season. Major League Baseball confirmed that the Yankees had notified them of the procedure after learning of it.
Colon has refused to discuss it with the media thus far.
Whatever Colon did to get himself healthy, it's working. His fastball is back in the mid-90s and he's having a strong year for the Yankees. He'll get the start for New York on Friday night against the Red Sox, where he'll take a 2-1 record and a 3.86 ERA into the game.