Once again this season, the Arizona Diamondbacks have a pitcher who needs Tommy John surgery. Bronson Arroyo, a workhorse during his 14-year career, didn't talk about retirement when he told the media on Monday that he needs the elbow ligament surgery.
The D-backs have had a forgettable season, marred by several injuries. With the second-worst record in the Major Leagues, the D-backs have begun to trade off established stars to get younger and less expensive players for the future. These recent transactions will hurt the Major League club, while supposedly strengthening the Minor League system.
Last weekend the D-backs sent left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher and outfielder Tony Campana to the Angels on Saturday. Then they sent Brandon McCarthy to the Yankees on Sunday.
Arroyo's injury further weakens Arizona's starting rotation. For a month, Arroyo has pitched with the injury, but recently the pain became too great. During that month, he was still effective since he used his offspeed pitches to deceive hitters, even though his velocity steadily declined. An MRI on Monday revealed the ulnar collateral ligament had completely detached from the bone.
The D-backs understand that it's impossible for them to reach the playoffs this season. During Spring Training, Arizona appeared to have the most balanced roster of any team in the Natonal League West. Then, the injuries began.
In March, the Diamondbacks knew Cody Ross, an outfielder who dislocated his hip the previous August, couldn't begin the season on time. During his last start of Spring Training, Patrick Corbin, the projected ace of Arizona's starting rotation, tore his UCL and needed to have Tommy John surgery -- which put him out for the entire season. A few days later, David Hernandez, the D-backs' projected eighth-inning setup man, shared Hernandez's misfortune.
When a team loses two of its best pitchers, it will struggle. Since Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson left Arizona, its pitching staff has been poor. Oh yes, the D-backs had Brandon Webb and Dan Haren who briefly did well in the desert. The team needs to obtain highly talented ground-ball pitchers to have a successful pitching staff. Since the Diamondbacks play 81 games in extremely dry and thin air, and nine games in Colorado that has similar conditions, they will have pitching problems unless the pitchers keep the ball low in the strike zone.
Sarah D. Morris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.