After Curt Schilling claimed that a former member of the Red Sox organization encouraged him to use performance-enhancing drugs to lengthen his career, a few unrelated former members of the organization came out to defend Boston. First, Theo Epstein spoke of how this incident was already handled by Major League Baseball, and second, former Red Sox closer and current Phillie Jonathan Papelbon said that what pitchers in Boston did use -- legally -- was the anti-inflammatory drug Toradol.
"Legally" is the key point there. The non-steroidal Toradol, in the words of Jon Lester, is a "glorified Advil." An anti-inflammatory makes a lot of sense for baseball players during the season, as they can be stiff or achy in-season the day after workouts or a start, or hell, even after a rough nap on a cross-country flight that left your body lacking in its recovery stage. Ever popped a couple of ibuprofen before you get going on your day? Consider this the industrial-strength version of that act, from someone who works their body hard year round.
With that being said, Toradol is controversial, since like with many anti-inflammatories, there are risks. One of these risks was experienced by Clay Buchholz last year, when he dealt with esophagitis and internal bleeding. Now, that's not to say that everyone is going to have to deal with that, but the side-effect is very real. Manager John Farrell is aware, as are the Red Sox, and they're reviewing the use to make sure that their guys are using something that won't harm them, in doses that are proper for their needs:
"Obviously Toradol is the news, whether it is football or here, but this is a legal drug that guys have used for a number of years as part of a maintenance or really to handle any kind of more than normal aches and pains,'' Farrell told The Post. "The one thing we do know, by no means has it ever been used to mask an injury.''
A Red Sox official told The Post: "We are reviewing our policy in terms of its use - how we use it, not whether we use it. It's a legal drug. A doctor, a licensed physician, has the right to prescribe it. We're looking at it to make sure we're putting our players' health first. It's an issue where there's increased awareness.''
The Red Sox don't want to take away something that is helping the players, especially not a legal supplement, but they also don't want its use to become abusive, or for something that's supposed to help to become more of a detriment than anything. That's how medicinal drugs in general should be treated -- hell, if you have too many Advil over a certain period of time you can cause problems for yourself, and those aren't even prescription pills -- and it's good to see the Red Sox are actively checking in on what goes into their players.