10:50am: The tear is in Arroyo’s rotator cuff, not his labrum, the pitcher himself told reporters (Twitter link via Zuckerman). Arroyo described the tear as “significant” and said that while he’s waiting for further evaluation, “It’s not looking real good.” Via James Wagner of the Washington Post (on Twitter), Arroyo says he will decide whether to rehab the shoulder or retire within the next couple of days.
MARCH 17, 9:15am: The Nationals told reporters this morning, including Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com, that reports of the labrum tear are “premature,” and they’re waiting for an MRI from the D-backs to compare the results to yesterday’s test (links to Zuckerman on Twitter). Zuckerman further notes, though, that Arroyo was seen hugging teammates in the clubhouse and that “everyone seems to sense what the likely result” of the situation is. Said manager Dusty Baker: “We don’t have to make a rash decision on anything. I think we owe him that as a man and as a professional.”
MARCH 16: Right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who is in camp with the Nationals on a minor league contract and has been vying for the fifth spot in their rotation, has an “80 percent tear” of the labrum in his right shoulder, tweets MLB Network’s Peter Gammons. Earlier today, it was reported that Arroyo would be scratched from his upcoming start due to shoulder soreness, but the severity of the injury will end Arroyo’s comeback attempt with the Nationals, Gammons notes.
Arroyo chose a minor league deal with the Nats (and his former skipper Dusty Baker) this winter over a return to Cincinnati on a minor league pact. The veteran innings eater had been hoping to make it back to the Majors for the first time since 2014 after missing the 2015 campaign while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Arroyo had long been known for his durability prior to signing a two-year pact with the D-backs spanning those 2014-15 seasons, but he underwent Tommy John after tearing his UCL three months into his first season with Arizona. He didn’t pitch in 2015, though his salary was included in a couple of trades to help balance out the financial element of said deals.
Arroyo could certainly look to rehab from the injury, but the possibility also has to be raised that this latest setback could bring to an end what has been a long and fruitful career in the big leagues. Earlier this spring, the 39-year-old told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that he hoped to pitch beyond the 2016 campaign, but he also added, “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.”
From the team’s vantage point, the loss of Arroyo means that right-handers Joe Ross and Tanner Roark are likely to fill out the rotation behind Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. Top prospect Lucas Giolito figures to challenge for a rotation spot of his own at some point over the course of the season as well.