Bartolo Colon's Comeback Keeps On Trucking - NBC New York

Bartolo Colon's Comeback Keeps On Trucking

Colon's comeback season continues with four-hit shutout.



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    Thumbs keep going up for Colon.

    If you're looking to get an appointment with Dr. Joseph Purita or any of his colleagues in the Dominican Republic, it is probably going to be a while. 

    After watching Bartolo Colon continue the most remarkable comeback story of the 2011 baseball season with a 5-0 shutout of the A's on Memorial Day, you have to figure that every pitcher with a sore arm, achy shoulder, tender elbow or just a dream of making it to the big leagues has already put their name on Purita's waiting list.

    After seeing the results that Colon got from the offbeat procedure that injected stem cells from Colon's fat and bone marrow into his elbow and shoulder, who could blame them? 

    Only the garish Memorial Day hats marred Colon's first complete game win since July of 2006, and the most surprising thing about the six-strikeout, zero-walk performance was just how unsurprising it was to watch it play out.

    We've seen enough of Colon this year to know that he's capable of weaving this kind of gem against a team as offensively challenged as Oakland.

    A lack of surprise isn't the same thing as a lack of appreciation for what Colon has accomplished so far this season, however. Fliers taken for $900,000 aren't supposed to turn in the kind of results that Colon has in 2011 and they certainly aren't supposed to be the second-best starters on teams with Yankee-level aspirations.

    But that's just what Colon has been, which means he doesn't have to do another thing to make him one of the better bargains in the history of the franchise. If you don't believe it, just look at the multi-year deals worth multiple millions that clog the disabled list thanks to Pedro Feliciano, Damaso Marte and Rafael Soriano.

    The Yankees would like him to keep turning in these results, however, so it is worth examining the chances that he'll keep it up. The gut says this run must have an expiration date, but the numbers aren't really backing up that feeling.

    He's striking out more than eight men per nine innings and racking up four K's for every walk, ratios that bode very well for continued success. He's not getting exceptionally lucky on balls in play, he's generating a lot of ground balls and he hasn't been the beneficiary of amazing defense behind him.

    What's more, Colon has a pretty clear understanding of how to best use his stuff. A look at his pitch chart from Monday shows a pitcher who throws strikes everywhere but the dead middle of the plate while using a pair of fastballs over any less pitches.

    That's happened almost every night Colon has pitched, so if you stripped away the injury history and the long layoff, there's nothing about Colon's work this season that would make you predict anything but smooth sailing. You can't get rid of injury fears, of course, but all other signs point to a continued renaissance for Colon.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.