Washington Nationals starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo is struggling to make a complete recovery from lingering shoulder issues related to partial tears in his rotator cuff tendons.
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Arroyo Trying New Approach After Continued Injury Woes
Wednesday, May 4
Bill Ladson of MLB.com noted Nationals manager Dusty Baker confirmed that Arroyo, who doesn't want to go through surgery, is trying a new arm slot as a possible cure. If it doesn't work out, he could decide to walk away from the game, though Baker hopes he'd stay in the organization in some capacity.
"It hurts to get on top [of the ball], but we'll give him time," Baker said. "He is a good guy to have in the organization."
In February, Arroyo told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times he understood the end could be near, but he still wanted to outlast former Boston Red Sox teammate David Ortiz, who's retiring at season's end:
I've been saying for a long time, I'm going to outlast Papi. But I've got to make it through this season. He might outlast me if I don't make this club, or if my arm can't handle the torque of pitching multiple innings.
But I'm proud of what I've done in this game, man. If I don't make it out of this camp, and this arm just won't go, I'm completely satisfied with what I've done in the game.
Arroyo was one of the most durable players in baseball for the first 15 years of his career. He debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2000 and didn't get placed on the disabled list until suffering an elbow injury in 2014, which eventually required Tommy John surgery.
The 39-year-old starter hasn't made it back to the major leagues since that setback. He made 14 starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks before the injury two years ago, posting a reasonable 4.08 ERA across 86 innings of work.
Even though he missed all of last season while recovering, he was actually traded twice. He went from Arizona to the Atlanta Braves, who later flipped him in a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers declined the option in his contract, and he landed with the Nationals. He made two appearances during spring training, giving up two runs in five innings with three strikeouts. His status has remained in limbo since that point, however, as he tries to find a new comfort zone on the mound.
He's nothing more than rotation depth at this stage of his career, and he'll likely need some time in the minors to establish the new arm slot, if he progresses that far. The Nats have no reason to rush him as they currently rank first in all of baseball with a 2.16 starters' ERA, per ESPN.com.
A contending team can never have enough pitching depth, so it's no surprise Washington will give him as much time as he needs to see if he can complete a comeback. But it's certainly a long road back to the majors at this point for Arroyo.