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.
The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.
Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).
John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.
What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.
The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?