Known for his durability and workhorse ways Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo has succumbed to the reality that in order to repair his elbow, the ulnar collateral ligament has torn completely off the bone, he is going to have to undergo Tommy John Surgery.
Put on the disabled list for the first time in his 15 year career on June 16 with elbow tendinitis he’d had 349 consecutive starts. That number is second, of active pitchers, only to the Toronto Blue Jays Mark Buehrle. He’s logged 200 innings per season in eight of what would have been nine straight seasons had he not been sick with valley fever, mononucleosis and a case of whooping cough. Even then he still started 32 games and pitched 199 innings that season. He was never on the disabled list.
Arroyo thinks that the ligament finally tore in a start against the Washington Nationals back in May, but he wanted to push through it. By mid-June he was still pitching effectively, winning his final three starts but his velocity had significantly decreased. He finally conceded to being put on the disabled list.
“We had a discussion with him before his last start, and he was pretty adamant about continuing to pitch; he thought he could get through it, but that last game really hurt him,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. “That’s when we shut him down.”
Even while trying to rehabilitate his elbow while on the disabled list, Arroyo was trying to push through the pain. Something he has probably been able to do many times throughout his long career. He was determined to fight the idea of surgery.
“I wanted to see if I could pitch on it without the ligament, because a few guys have done it,” Arroyo said. “Most of the guys were bullpen guys, so it was going to be tough to do. I fired it up the last three days, and I could throw 120 feet and I could probably go out there and pitch, but it just won’t come back fast enough. So I’d have to pitch every 10 days and take nine days to get it healthy. It just wasn’t going to work.”
When an MRI revealed that his UCL was torn completely he gave into having the surgery which he says will take place sometime with in the next week or so.
Arroyo still has another year on his contract which he signed in February with Arizona. It is worth $23.5 million plus with an $11 million club option for 2016 or a $4.5 million buy out. The 37-year old has absolutely no intention of retiring due to the surgery and seems more determined than ever to come back to baseball.
“If this was the last year that I was going to play, I would just go gut it out and pitch and it would hurt and I’d try to find a way to win at 82 miles per hour, but I don’t think it is,” Arroyo said. “I think my body’s a lot younger than my age is. I think I’m probably closer to 32, 33 as far as the way I feel in comparison to most guys my age. So I don’t think it’s going to be a problem coming back.”
Arroyo finishes his year at 7-4 with a 4.08 ERA.