[ed. note - "Updated 3/17/16 at 11:50 AM EDT... Though initial reports said that Bronson Arroyo suffered a torn labrum, he told reporters this morning that he actually suffered a torn rotator cuff. He also said he won't have surgery, so it's either retirement or rehab for the 39-year-old right-hander who was attempting to make a comeback from Tommy John surgery with the Washington Nationals. A disappointing outcome for the veteran starter for sure."]
Washington Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker talked at length this morning about the decision to scratch Bronson Arroyo from his scheduled start against the Miami Marlins. Though he didn't have any details about the extent of the issue, he told reporters that the veteran right-hander was having the shoulder looked at after experiencing soreness.
Arroyo, 39, who was attempting to come back from a year off following Tommy John surgery, felt pain in the shoulder while throwing between starts.
"It appeared like he was in no pain and you just don't know," Baker said. "Especially as you get older you don't know you're going to respond in-between starts and that was the last test that we had to pass."
The shoulder was not an issue before, though it was cleaned up when Arroyo underwent Tommy John.
"Never was an issue," Baker said. "You've got to ask him that. They operated on his elbow and then while they were in there they cleaned up his shoulder. And the elbow, he's not having any trouble with that."
"Don't know if it's just scar tissue or what," Baker continued. "We'll see."
According to a report by Peter Gammons on Twitter tonight, the news is about as bad as it gets:
Feel sick. Bronson Arroyo has an 80 per cent tear of his labrum, so his Nats comeback is over. Alltime gamer— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) March 16, 2016
When Baker spoke to reporters before this afternoon's win over the Marlins, he said that he couldn't offer any more details until he knew more.
"We can't say, because I don't know. I'd be talking out of turn if I said any more because I don't know. We just have to wait until he sees a doctor, until our trainers have a chance to put hands on him and see. I'd like to tell you more but I don't know."
There's no confirmation of the news from the Nationals yet, but if Gammons' report is correct, that is indeed the end of Arroyo's comeback attempt.
Baker was asked if he'd given any thought to how a potential issue would affect the Nationals' rotation depth.
"We haven't gone that far yet," Baker said. "We just found this news out. We haven't really had the time to think about rotation depth, but we've got a lot of depth. There [are] some guys at the Triple-A level that are throwing the ball pretty good. We like [Austin] Voth. That's why we sent some of these guys out earlier than you might have wanted to, just so they could get stretched out... themselves for their own season and in order to help us."
They didn't have time to discuss what the injury would mean, he explained, because they just learned of the issue.
"He told us probably a couple days ago, when he went to throw on the side and he said, 'Hey man, there's some soreness.' And I'm like, 'Hey man, you better go look at it.'"
"We decided yesterday to scratch him. You know how soreness goes, man, soreness can be there one day and gone the next.
"You've got to do what you've got to do. And the thing about Bronson. You're not worried about him lying to you. He's as honest as the day is long and Bronson says something is wrong, then you've got to believe him."
According to Arroyo himself, and contrary to previous reports, he has a torn rotator cuff, not a torn labrum, in his right shoulder, and from what he told reporters today, it's either rehab or retirement, not surgery.
Here are some of the tweets from reporters on the scene in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium:
Bronson Arroyo said he has a torn rotator cuff, not a torn labrum. #Nats #Nationals #MLB— William Ladson (@washingnats) March 17, 2016
Bronson Arroyo said he will either rehab the shoulder or retire. He will make a decision in the next couple of days. #Nats #MLB #Nationals— William Ladson (@washingnats) March 17, 2016
Arroyo said rotator cuff is significantly torn. It's either rehab or retiring. That'll hinge on evaluation of exams. "It's disappointing."— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 17, 2016
Arroyo says rotator cuff is "significantly torn," not labrum. Waiting for comparison to previous MRI but "it's not looking real good."— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 17, 2016
Arroyo says he won't have surgery. "It's either rehab or retire."— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 17, 2016