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.
Toradol is the nonsteroidal drug that Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz acknowledged last season might have contributed to the esophagitis that sidelined him for 20 games. Buchholz was hospitalized in intensive care and lost three or four pints of blood while dealing with the condition, which is a known side effect of the painkiller.
Papelbon said that when he was administered a physical by the Philadelphia Phillies prior to signing as a free agent after the 2011 season, doctors asked him if he used Toradol. When he answered in the affirmative, he was told 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.
"But here's the thing you have to understand. There are so many organizations that do it. Not only baseball, but every sport. Football, basketball, hockey. It's not just the Red Sox."
A Red Sox official, speaking on background Saturday, described Toradol as a legal drug with clear pain-management benefits, and acknowledged its widespread use in baseball, including by Red Sox pitchers before their starts. But he added that the club is in the midst of reviewing its policy to ensure players' safety.
"A club's policy is related to how it's using Toradol, not whether it would use it," he said.
The official said the club was in full compliance last year with the legal stipulation that only a doctor inject the medication.
Papelbon said he couldn't recall who introduced him to Toradol, and wasn't sure when he first began receiving injections, but believes it was in 2007, when he was the closer on the team that won the World Series title.
"It was kind of a word-of-mouth thing," he said. "You got in the clubhouse and said, 'Man, I feel like crap,' and somebody would say, 'Oh, you should get a Toradol shot.' All players talk about what gets you through a 162-game season."
Papelbon: I got Toradol shots while with Boston
ESPN.com | Feb 11