ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 07: Pitcher Bartolo Colon #40 of the New York Yankees throws the ball in the air before being relieved against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on May 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Both of those things are unexpected. Most unexpected of all: Colon has been pitching well for the Yankees. Without Bartolo Colon, the Yankees are a second-place team (actually, they'll probably be a second-place team in just a few hours, but for the moment let's assume you're reading this Thursday morning).
And now comes news, via the New York Times, that Colon might be some sort of medical marvel ...
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 the pitcher'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.
Purita says there wasn't any HGH. Colon pretended that he didn't understand any questions about HGH. If the Gray Lady asked any of the other principals about HGH, it didn't get into the article.
Here's the question that occurred to me, though ... If there are old broken-down pitchers running around who could throw 95 again with a surgery and a liberal dose of Human Growth Hormone, wouldn't that be a good thing?
I don't know. Maybe not. But we always circle back around to the same arguments, don't we? If you could take a pill -- containing ingredients deemed perfectly acceptable by large segments of society -- that would make you 20 percent better at your job, would you take it? What if this same pill would keep you from hitting the unemployment line?
Maybe you wouldn't take it if your profession had a rule against it. Maybe I wouldn't. I really don't know what you would do, or what I would do. But if we discover that Bartolo Colon's treatment included Human Growth Hormone, I'll have a hard time summoning a great deal of outrage.
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