Bill Ladson

Arroyo will rehab partial tears in rotator cuff

Nationals righty will be shut down for 10-14 days, out for 4-6 weeks

Arroyo will rehab partial tears in rotator cuff

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Bronson Arroyo plans to continue his baseball career after learning that he has partial tears in his rotator cuff tendons, which are inflamed, according to general manager Mike Rizzo.

The rest of Arroyo's shoulder is normal. The plan is to shut him down for 10 to 14 days. Arroyo can do his cardio work, but he will be unable to throw a baseball. After that, he will start a shoulder-strengthening program and then a throwing program. The entire process will take four to six weeks.

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"He is a tough guy. He has played in pain before," Rizzo said. "He is a veteran that knows his body. We are going to rehab him the best way we can and see if he can help the club down the road.

"He knows his own body, but we have an extremely capable medical staff that is going to walk us through this thing and put protocols in place [to the point where] he feels good enough to help the team."

Arroyo said the pain in the shoulder has calmed down. But during his pregame meeting with reporters on Thursday, Arroyo sounded like a man who felt his career was over after being told that he had a significant tear in his shoulder. Arroyo had the rotator cuff repaired at the same time he had Tommy John surgery in 2014. He was in uniform the last three days and was seen talking to teammates. Arroyo reiterated that if the shoulder doesn't get better, he will retire. He will not go through another surgical procedure in order to pitch in a game.

"It was a good prognosis. The reading that they made was a little bit better than the earlier one," Arroyo said. "[After the early reading], I thought I was coming to the ballpark to retire. Now [the doctor] says it's not a perfect shoulder, but it's not worse than what we have seen from other guys."

In his most recent start, on March 10 against the Astros, Arroyo pitched three shutout innings and struck out three. Arroyo said he wasn't healthy in that game against Houston.

Arroyo's three perfect innings

Arroyo hasn't pitched in a Major League game since June 15, 2014.

"Yeah, I haven't really been healthy since I had the surgery," Arroyo said on Thursday. "I had the Tommy John [on my] elbow, and I had my rotator cuff repaired as well. It had a small tear, about 30 percent, in '14. I mean, there would be days where I felt pretty good. But it was one of those things where I couldn't tell if it was just something that would work itself out in camp as I was building up, and it would get stronger and better, or if it was something that was just going to be there all the time.

"If it stayed where it was, I could pitch with that. But it got to the point my last outing where it's just significantly so much pain that there's just no way to possibly pitch. And there's also no way to turn it around and pitch again. It's not looking real good, but we'll take a couple days to just let them analyze it a little bit."

Arroyo has had a productive career in the big leagues. He has won 145 games and posted a 4.19 ERA in 15 seasons. He is best remembered for helping the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004 -- their first in 86 years.

Manager Dusty Baker persuaded Arroyo to sign a Minor League contract with the Nationals instead of the Reds this past offseason. The two were together for six years with Cincinnati.

"Now that he has heard the news, I'm sure he probably will be able to work some more," Baker said.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.