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MLB Today: Jonathan Papelbon Blows the Whistle on the BoSox

February 11, 2013 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Kerry Wood was all that for the Chicago Cubs once upon a time.
No, these are not the children helped by Kerry Wood (centre).

Oh boy! Now that he BioGenesis story has blown the cover off the latest PED scandal, the fallout has been pretty much non-stop.

Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon is the latest player to make headlines, admitting that during his time with the Boston Red Sox, he and several other players were regularly injected with Toradol, a legal anti-inflammatory.

It’s a nonsteroidal painkiller, but has known side effects including esophagitis, which afflicted Red Sox hurler Clay Buchholz last year, causing him to miss about three weeks.

Papelbon said before he signed with the Phils, he was asked during his physical by team doctors if he used the drug. He admitted he did, but was told “We don’t do that here,” so he’d have to stop.

He said he was surprised by that, but hasn’t taken Toradol since. However, Papelbon made it clear that use of this drug is very widespread: “But here’s the thing you have to understand. There are so many organizations that do it. Not only baseball, but every sport. Football, basketball, hockey. It’s not just the Red Sox.”

The Red Sox say they are currently reviewing their policy over using this drug (not its use in general, but rather how it is used), but a team official admitted that BoSox pitchers use it before their starts.

Papelbon said he never actually saw other players get injected with Toradol, but maintained that many were using it. He also said he was never informed of any potential side effects, but did not experience any.

Papelbon said he took it when he wasn’t feeling up to snuff, perhaps once a month.

Now, let’s make one thing clear: Toradol is not a banned substance. Its use is perfectly legal in MLB and other sports, but many medical experts are concerned about the long-term effects of the drug.

There has already been a lawsuit by retired NFL players regarding the use of Toradol and how it may have made injuries worse.

England restricts the use of Toradol to hospitals and some countries have banned it outright.

Of course, Papelbon isn’t the first ex-Red Sox pitcher to weigh in on drugs in the last few days. On Thursday, Curt Schilling said that someone in the Boston organization told him that PEDs would help him recover from a shoulder injury he suffered in 2008.

That claim has been shot down by both the Red Sox and MLB.

Still, you know what they say about where there’s smoke…

You can bet this story is far from over as our Winter of Discontent continues. Thank Pink Floyd Spring Training starts Tuesday, so we can start filing some real baseball stories!

Quick Hits

  • We go from the bad side of baseball to the good, with news that former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood’s second annual Woody’s Winter Warm-Up fundraiser wrapped up last month. Funds from this event go to the Wood Family Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of children in the Chicago area. Participants included David DeJesus, Matt Garza, Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Dale Sveum, Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein. Dave Mason of Traffic fame was among the musical acts. The event raised over $100,000. Kudos to Wood for continuing to be a positive influence on his community even though he has wrapped up his playing career.
  • Um, not so fast on that Felix Hernandez extension. A proposed seven-year, $175-million deal is suddenly in jeopardy because of worries over King Felix’s pitching elbow, according to reports. Now, that may not be the only item stalling the progress of his contract extension, but some suggest it is an issue. Mariner General Manager Jack Zduriencik said Hernandez has been on a normal throwing program and is expected to report with the other pitchers and catchers Tuesday. Of course, like all players, Hernandez will be subject to a physical in Spring Training, so that will tell us more. Should we be worried about the mileage on his arm? Consider that since 1969 only three pitchers (Bert Blyleven, Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden) threw more innings before their 27th birthday than Hernandez.

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