VIERA, Fla. (AP) After being told his right rotator cuff was ''significantly torn'' and calling 30 of his closest friends to tell them it looked as if his career was over, Washington Nationals pitcher Bronson Arroyo received some good news on Saturday.
Although there is still some damage and inflammation, team doctors compared his most recent MRI to one taken in 2014 and said there is a chance he will still be able to pitch after going through rehabilitation.
The Nationals announced Saturday the 39-year-old right-hander will be shut down for the next seven days to two weeks, after which he will begin a shoulder strengthening program and a throwing program. The rehab process is expected to take four to six weeks, at which time Arroyo will be re-evaluated.
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Arroyo has not pitched in the majors since June 14, 2014, after which he underwent Tommy John surgery. He also had a partially torn rotator cuff repaired at that time.
''It was a good prognosis,'' Arroyo said. ''The read they made was better than the early one. The early one, I thought I was cashed out and I was coming to the ballpark to retire. They look at it now and say it's not a perfect shoulder, but it's not worse than what we've seen other guys pitch with.''
General manager Mike Rizzo said ''the tendons are extremely inflamed right now. That's giving him all the pain in his shoulder.''
''The remainder of the shoulder is essentially normal as (it was) in 2014,'' he said.
A 2006 All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds, Arroyo signed a minor league deal with the Nationals in January. The 15-year veteran right-hander has a 145-131 record with a 4.19 ERA.
While he admitted it is still ''a coin toss'' whether his shoulder will hold up under the stress of pitching in the majors, Arroyo is willing to go through the rehab to find out. If his injury had required surgery, he would have retired from a game he started preparing himself to play at an early age.
''I've lived a strange life,'' he said. ''I was in the weight room as a 5- and 6-year-old kid, pounding out weights. I've got DVDs of me as an 8-year-old kid, (weighing) 50 pounds, squatting 250 pounds. It's like a joke.''
''I don't know anything other than this. A couple of more months is no big deal,'' he said.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker, who managed Arroyo for six seasons in Cincinnati, seemed optimistic the right-hander will pitch for Washington.
''He's going to have an effect on this team before the season's out,'' Baker said. ''Before this season's out, we're going to need Bronson.''