It’s not often that a major league pitcher is going to prefer to have arm surgery in the Dominican Republic. It might have been necessary in this case, though.
Bartolo Colon received injections of his own stem cells into his shoulder and elbow to treat a rotator cuff tear and ligament damage in a procedure a year ago, the New York Times reports.
Florida-based doctor Joseph R. Purita said he flew to the Dominican Republic and performed the procedures for free. He added that he has also used human growth hormone in similar procedures, though he didn’t in this case.
MLB is looking into the procedure. The Yankees said they didn’t know about it when they signed Colon to a minor league deal this spring. Colon’s agent only informed the team after learning that the New York Times had contacted Purita and was doing an article. The Yankees then informed the league.
Purita made it clear that his procedures are legal in the United States. He said he uses platelet-rich plasma injections in combination with human growth hormone to treat many ligament injuries and arthritic conditions.
Colon, who didn’t pitch after the procedure last April, has returned to the majors to go 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in four starts and three relief appearances for the Yankees. If he keeps it up, it’d be his first successful season since he won the Cy Young Award for the Angels in 2005. He went 14-21 with a 5.18 ERA from 2006-09.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.