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August 3, 2011

Arrieta talks about injury, expects to have surgery

Jake Arrieta is almost certainly going to be shut down for the remainder of this season so he can have a fibrous mass – much like a bone spur but softer and located a little above his elbow – surgically removed.

“I don’t know if it’s 100 percent, but there’s a good chance I have it done,” Arrieta said.

But he said he’s not overly frustrated because he’s been expecting this would be the end result.

“I kind of knew at some point this might come up. I’ve been really battling this for most of the year,” Arrieta said after Tuesday night’s 8-2 Orioles win against the Kansas City Royals. “[I've] done as best job as I can to manage it with treatment, taken some anti-inflammatories, but it’s come to a point where it’s really affecting the way I pitch. And I feel like I’m potentially putting myself at risk for a more serious injury if I don’t have it looked at a little bit more seriously.”

He will visit renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Los Angeles Angels’ team physician, on Aug. 10. If Yocum suggests surgery, it will probably happen within a couple days after the initial exam.

“Where it’s at now, it’s a pretty minor issue. So, if Yocum says that we need to get it out so you can go ahead and be 100 percent from the first inning to however many innings you are out there, the first to eighth inning, then that’s what we want to do.”

Arrieta contemplated having the surgery last year but said the pain wasn’t as severe. Now, he said he really feels it the longer he pitches – and it alters his control. On Sunday, he walked a career-high six batters and again couldn't pitch deep into a game, failing to get an out in the sixth.

“In the sixth inning [Sunday], I went out there and had no feel with where the ball was going. Velocity dropped about five miles an hour. Just, really, it was very frustrating that it’s gotten to this point,” said Arrieta, who is 10-8 with a 5.05 ERA in 22 starts. “Last year, it was manageable, stuff wasn’t drastically affected, but this year, as I go deeper into the game, I really lose feel of my pitches. And it affects my performance. I’m confident that if we do have it done, I’ll come in next season 100 percent, my performance won’t be affected.”

Because the mass is higher on his elbow than a usual spur, he said he’s not worried about the recovery time. He expects to be ready for spring training if he has the surgery soon.

“[Surgery is] a lot less [risky] with where mine’s at, and I feel pretty good about it,” he said. “I know that if I do have it done, I’m going to have a normal offseason, normal throwing program, normal workout schedule and be back in spring training ready to toe the rubber just like I was this year.”

Posted by Dan Connolly at 12:14 AM | | Comments (11)


Why is it that every young pitcher that comes through this system ends up with arm problems??

Why is it that every young pitcher that comes through this system ends up with arm problems??

This is good news - perhaps there is a a bright upside for Arrieta . Otherwise, an ERA over 5 is 5th starter material.

Don't much like the potential of any of the other "young arms" , except Britton.

But with Guthrie, Simon, Jim Johnson, and Tommy Hunter, perhaps a staff can still be assembled from within.

In many ways, Arrieta is the most disappointing pitcher the Orioles have. Considering that he refuses to throw strikes and still has 10 wins, I can't help but wonder if he grew a pair and trusted himself what he could do. But he seems unwilling to take that final step.

arrietta should have had the surgury last year. like another poster mentioned, why are so many of the oriole pitches having some type of arm problmes. i sure would hope the orioles get someone to program these pitchers to more than 5 or 6 innings in a game.

Chas, before commenting you really should read what Jake said. The injury has affected his control. Perhaps that accounts for the high number of balls and walks.

I hope Arietta is shut down and has successful surgery. I think he has the ability to very, very good. Throwing low 90's with a bad arm speaks to his potential if healthy.

Chas, why don't you grow a pair yourself? Or better yet, show us your olympic medal or all of the other honors Jake has earned. If his elbow hadn't hampered him he might be 14-4 or 13-5 by now. I don't blame him for not going under the knife last fall as he says he has had the elbow thing for years and managed it. Of course he is more disappointed than you. But he will work hard in the off season and be back ready to battle.

Unrestrained by medical knowledge, if a pitcher loses his velocity sometimes it's a sign of a shoulder injury. If command is lost, it's an elbow. Arrieta is still throwing in the mid 90's so maybe there is still hope this surgery can fix his command issues.

Matusz and Tillman have each lost 5-7 mph off their fastballs. Are they injured or have the coaching instruction they've received from the Orioles been flawed?

Keeping tally, Loewen's arm fell off, Matusz lost his fastball, Tillman lost his fastball, Arrieta is now injured. If I were Dylan Bundy, I would not come near the Orioles organization. He sign here and Orioles player development staff will either break his arm or ruin his mechanics. Replace "grow the arms" with "break the arms".

Jake has the intangibles that no one else on this staff has.Plain and simple. He knows how to win. Get well soon Jake and come back strong next year!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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