Dr. HQ: Shoulder woes for Colon, Rolen
Kudos to Bartolo Colon for making it this far with a pitching shoulder that he rehabbed over the winter, rather than having surgery to repair rotator cuff damage. However, if Colon can't pitch effectively, that makes two starters (with Ervin Santana) the Angels were counting on in 2007 that aren't carrying their share of the load. The Angels need Colon now more than ever and he is failing to deliver. After his May 17 outing against the Mariners, Colon's ERA was 3.69. He had walked only seven batters in his first six outings. Since then we've seen a slow erosion of both the command and control of his pitches. He has had three starts where he has allowed double-digit hits, five outings of allowing at least two home runs and only two decent starts since the middle of May. Colon isn't getting nearly the amount of swinging strikes that he did earlier in the season, either. This is usually a sign of decreased velocity or lack of movement on his pitches, which aren't fooling the hitter often enough. A pitcher with a sore shoulder or decreased strength would exhibit these signs.
After watching his latest start on July 18, and comparing it with several of his outings early in the year, I am convinced that Colon is hurting again. He had 12 days off around the All-Star break yet he did not look significantly stronger against the Devil Rays despite striking out seven in five innings. At some time in the not-too-distant future, we are going to hear that his shoulder is bothering him again. This time, we hope, he'll have surgery instead of rehab.