Jake Arrieta will find out next week whether he needs season-ending surgery to remove a fibrous mass from his elbow, but even before his August 10 examination by Dr. Lewis Yocum the Orioles right-hander isn’t optimistic about avoiding going under the knife.
“I don’t know if it’s 100 percent, but there’s a good chance I have it done,” Arrieta told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, adding:
I kind of knew at some point this might come up. I’ve been really battling this for most of the year. 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.
Arrieta was one of the reasons many people were optimistic about the Orioles’ young rotation taking a big step forward this season, but instead he has a 5.05 ERA and 93/59 K/BB ratio in 22 starts while serving up 21 homers in 119 innings. That includes a 6.61 ERA in six starts since June 1, during which time Arrieta posted a 22/17 K/BB ratio and allowed opponents to hit .302 with a .566 slugging percentage.
He’s apparently been dealing with the elbow problem since last year, but recently had to alter his mechanics in order to deal with the discomfort, resulting in poor control and a career-high six walks last time out because he “had no feel with where the ball was going.”
The good news is that the surgery is considered relatively minor and would leave Arrieta plenty of time to be ready for spring training.