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Papelbon was Injected with Toradol by Red Sox

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The controversial pain killer was apparently used often in Boston. He was told to stop using it by the Phillies.


Gordon Edes reported at yesterday that...

Former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was with the team from 2005-11, said Saturday that he and numerous other Red Sox players were regularly injected with Toradol, a legal anti-inflammatory drug whose use has become increasingly controversial in sports.

Papelbon said that during the physical he was given prior to signing with the Phillies, he was told by the doctors that he would have to stop:

"They told me, 'We don't do that here.' That kind of surprised me," Papelbon said Saturday, speaking by phone from Phillies camp in Clearwater, Fla. "I haven't had a single Toradol shot since.

Toradol is legal in MLB and other sports, but has been restricted in England to use in hospitals only, and has been banned entirely by other countires, due to risks associated with its long term use, primarily gastrointestinal bleeding. It's thought to have contributed to the esophagitis which landed Clay Bucholtz in the hospital last year and caused him to miss 20 games.

In December 2011, twelve former NFL players filed suit claiming that teams repeatedly and indiscriminately administered the drug before and during games, thus worsening concussions and other injuries. In December 2012, the NFL Players Association filed a grievance asking that teams stop asking players to sign liability waivers for the use of Toradol:

...if a doctor believes a player would "be placed at an unacceptable medical risk by using Toradol ... the team's medical staff should inform the player of that opinion and refuse to administer Toradol. The NFL club physician should not administer Toradol and require that a player sign a waiver of liability before doing so.

Papelbon said in the article that he does not miss Toradol. He had a strong season in 2012, setting career highs in games (70) and innings pitched (70.0), with K/9 (11.8) and BB/9 (2.3) which were both better than his career averages, and ERA/FIP/xFIP which were all around his career norms.

Probably unrelated to Toradol use, but worrisome nevertheless, it should be noted that his velocity was below his career averages in 2012: