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Is Bartolo Colon the Next Tommy John?

By Mike Silva ~ July 20th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

Back in the seventies Tommy John underwent a revolutionary surgery that has become a common part of the baseball injury vernacular. Could Bartolo Colon be the pioneer for stem cell therapy that will be commonplace 15 years from now?

Former St. John’s product C.J. Nitkowski has been pitching in Japan the last four seasons and decided he wanted to try to make it back to the big leagues one last time. He contacted Rick Peterson and was working on reinventing his delivery by going sidearm. I talked to Rick on a couple of occasions and he is a big believer in lefties who don’t throw hard going down low. It saved Pedro Feliciano‘s career and turned him into one of the best LOOGY’s in all of baseball.

The one problem is Nitkowski started to feel pain in his shoulder; a similar pain that he suffered in 2009. At 38 years old the clock is ticking to make it back to organized baseball. He decided to contact Dr. Purita - who performed Colon’s surgery- and see if it would have a similar effect. He talks about this at his blog CJ Baseball.

“I had followed the Colon story because I had considered a similar treatment last year in Colorado.  It was a stem cell procedure but my stem cells would have been harvested for a month before being injected into my shoulder. This week doctor Purita will draw from my bone marrow and fat and inject my arm that day. About 4 weeks later I’ll go back for PFP which I’ve had before and 4-5 weeks after that, do PRP again. All in all this will be about a 10-11 week process. I’ve been rehabbing for over a month now and to be honest I could start a throwing program and probably be ready in 4-6 weeks.”

There are two teams in New York that could use some LOOGY depth in their bullpen next season. Nitkowski would be a great story since he is a local kid, pitched for both the Mets and Yankees before, and would be completing an unlikely comeback at the age of 38. Can anyone say “movie deal” if it works out? Will we be referring to pitchers get Bartolo Colon Surgery at some point in the future?

Check out some recent video of his new delivery below. I also spoke to CJ on my radio show back in 2008 which you can download here. 

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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