Depending on who you talk to, steroids either tarnished America’s Pastime or made it freakin’ awesome. (HOME RUNS!) Either way, that era is over now. According to Bud Selig, Congress and Rafael Palmeiro, baseball players don’t do steroids. But we’re still not so sure baseball has gotten rid of that giant syringe in its butt for good. Here are ten starts that don’t seem totally “natural” to us. Get out your cups, fellas, it’s peein’ time!
Bartolo Colon, pitcher, New York Yankees
Colon took a year off and came back throwing in the high 90s as a 38-year old, mowing down numerous AL East heavy-hitters in the process. Reports have surfaced that he had a controversial procedure in which his own fat cells were injected into his shoulder – though it looks like those cells missed his shoulder and hit his face. Either way, his resurgence has lead to a number of “Colon Probe” headlines, so we hope that this comeback lasts as long as possible.
Lance Berkman, right fielder, St. Louis Cardinals
The guy they used to call Fat Elvis hasn’t been this skinny since Elvis was still in the building. Berkman’s home run total dropped from 45 in 2006 to 14 last year. So far this season, he’s already cranked 11 dongs and currently has career-highs in slugging percentage and OPS, all while playing fulltime in the outfield at the age of 35. Even when he injured his wrist this week, he was making the kind of diving catch he probably hasn’t made since little league.
Jose Bautista, right fielder, Toronto Blue Jays
Here are his career stats. From 2004 to 2009: 59 HRs. Since 2010: 70 HRs. Who’s this guy’s hitting coach, Raul Ibanez? There’s also this completely undoctored pic, which seems like pretty damning evidence to us.
Russell Martin, catcher, New York Yankees
He’s on pace to hit more home runs this season than he has in his last three seasons combined. His slugging percentage is also at a career high. In his defense, Martin is bouncing back from injuries and is only 28-years old, the age that has classically been a baseball player’s prime (steroid using) years.
The Entire Roster of the Cleveland Indians
There’s nothing more suspicious in baseball than a first-place Indians team.
Carlos Beltran, right fielder, New York Mets
The guy has had more knee procedures than All-Star appearances since he joined the Mets, but all of the sudden he’s raking again. After playing in fewer than 82 games and knocking in fewer than 50 RBI in each of his last two seasons, the 34-year old Beltran is currently slugging at the second best rate of his career in the world’s most spacious ballpark. If you want to chalk it up to Beltran finally being healthy again, fine, then maybe he’s not on steroids.
Kyle Lohse, pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals
His career earned run average is just under five, and yet this season Lohse has a lower ERA than Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum and Felix Hernandez. Chalk another success story up to the tutelage of St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan. Duncan has seen over career years with the likes of Joel Piniero, Jason Marquis, Jaime Garica…come to think of it, maybe we should raid Duncan’s locker instead.
Curtis Granderson, centerfielder, New York Yankees
Last year, the Majors’ home run leader hit 54 homers. This year, the Yankees #2 hitter is on pace to hit 55. All of this from a guy who has never hit more than 30 homers in a season. Don’t give us this Yankee Stadium garbage, either - Granderson has more homers away from the Bronx bandbox than at home so far this season. Is Jason Giambi still hanging out in that Yankees clubhouse?
Jeff Francoeur, right fielder, Kansas City Royals
He had 13 homers in 139 games last year, but has already ripped off 8 homers in just 41 games this year. In his first season with the Royals, Francoeur is well on his way to a career high in homers, RBIs and, if we had our way, drug tests.
Alfonso Soriano, left fielder, Chicago Cubs
He hasn’t hit a home run in over two weeks and he’s still on pace for 45, which seems totally natural for a 35-year old. Give him another cycle and he might top his career high of 46, which came in his contract year with the Nats in 2006.