PHOENIX (AP) — Bronson Arroyo had been one of baseball's most gutsy pitchers, finding a way to take the mound no matter what was ailing him.
Even after suffering a severe elbow injury in May, the Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander kept taking the ball, making six starts while fighting through the pain.
When an MRI revealed a ligament in his elbow had torn away from the bone, Arroyo still trying to keep pitching before finally giving in.
A player who had never been on the disabled list prior to this season, Arroyo will have Tommy John surgery within the next week or so, becoming the third Diamondbacks pitcher to undergo the ligament-replacement procedure this year.
"I wanted to see if I could pitch on it without the ligament, because a few guys have done it," Arroyo said on Monday. "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."
Signed by Arizona during the offseason, Arroyo had been one of baseball's most durable pitchers, making 369 consecutive starts during 15 seasons with four teams.
The 37-year-old got the season off to a slow start after suffering a back injury in spring training, but had seemingly rounded into form over the last month, pitching well despite the elbow injury. He was 7-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 14 starts.
Arroyo said he believes the ligament tear came during a start against Washington in May, when he outpitched Stephen Strasburg in a complete-game victory. He continued to pitch after that and was still effective, using medication to fight the pain and deception to fight off hitters. Despite pitching with a torn ligament, Arroyo went 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA over his final three starts before going on the disabled list on June 16.
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