Almost every major league baseball pitcher hopes to avoid hearing that they have to undergo Tommy John surgery. The procedure typically involves the reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) inside the elbow, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Athletes who play in sports where throwing overhead is common, such as baseball and football, are more susceptible of UCL injuries.
Last month, the list of current MLB players who have undergone Tommy John surgery increased when Pittsburgh Pirates star Johan Oviedo had UCL reconstruction surgery.
Former big league pitcher Bronson Arroyo joined OutKick’s “Hot Mic” with Hutton & Withrow show this week and gave some advice to players who are working their way back to the pitching mound following Tommy John surgery.
“I think just be patient because eveybody’s body is so different.” Arroyo said. “I know guys who have come back in 10 months and felt really good and I know. guys who have been grinding for over tens years trying to get the paint out.”
In July 2014, an MRI showed that Arroyo’s UCL had been torn, but at the time, the 2006 MLB All-Star still attempted to pitch in spite of the serious injury.
Even after the MRI revealed the tear, Arroyo tried to fight through it before succumbing to surgery.
“I wanted to see if I could pitch on it without the ligament, because a few guys have done it,” Arroyo said. “Most of the guys were bullpen guys, so it was going to be tough to do. I fired it up the last three days, and I could throw 120 feet and I could probably go out there and pitch, but it just won’t come back fast enough. So I’d have to pitch every 10 days and take nine days to get it healthy. It just wasn’t going to work.”
Prior to the injury, Arroyo was a model for durability. He logged more than 200 innings in eight of nine seasons leading into the 2014 campaign. The one year he fell just one inning short of the 200 mark, happened in 2011, when he was diagnosed with valley fever and other health-related issues.
On Thursday, Arroyo also recalled the multiple in-game feuds he had with former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.
“The July 24th fight with the Yankees there in Fenway Park, has almost become like Bobby Bobby Bonilla Day… you know whenever Bobby gets that check from the Mets, well everytime it’s July 24 I’m text messages from all over the country like ‘look what just popped up on my feed’”
Arroyo added that despite their numerous run-ins on the baseball diamond, he had not spoken to Rodriguez.
“And the funny thing is… I’ve never had a conversation with Alex.”