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.”