PHOENIX — No player wants to go on the disabled list.
And for 15 years and 369 starts, Bronson Arroyo had managed to avoid seeing his name on such a list. He had pitched when he wasn’t feeling well. He had pitched when his arm wasn’t feeling well. All because he felt a sense of obligation to his team and teammates to take the ball each time his number was called.
Arroyo, 37, won’t hear his number called for awhile, not after the Diamondbacks on Monday placed the veteran right-hander on the 15-day disabled list with elbow tendinitis, an issue that had been bothering him over his last handful of starts.
“I talked to him after the game (Sunday) and he just said, ‘It was a nice run, but I’m throwing 78 mph and trying to be Houdini’ which he was once again yesterday,” GM Kevin Towers said Monday. “It’s amazing what he was able to do, but I think he needs to rest it.”
Arroyo pitched five innings, allowing but a single run on five hits before removing himself from his outing against the L.A. Dodgers.
“Really the first inning he barely could hit 80 mph. His elbow was really hurting him. I think I saw 83 or 84 one time. Just moving the ball, making it go left, go right, sink; 79 mph fastball guys are late on because he’s got them thinking somewhere else. He knows how to pitch,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
“He’s had other times in his career where he’s been able to overcome things like this, but it wasn’t in the cards this time.”
Arroyo’s 369 career starts without going on the disabled list were second-most among active pitchers behind Toronto’s Mark Buehrle (443) and ahead of Detroit’s Justin Verlander (280), Kansas City’s James Shields (266) and San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum (234).
His seven wins are the most among a Diamondbacks rotation that had already lost one starter due to injury (Patrick Corbin) and another due to ineffectiveness (Trevor Cahill).
Arroyo had won each of his past three starts, which according to Towers was done with Arroyo at about 50 percent healthy.
“Just shows you the art of pitching and changing speeds and being smart,” Towers said. “I mean I sat right behind home plate yesterday and I was like, ‘whoa’. You know 76, 78 (mph) and I’m going, ‘how is he going to get through — maybe the first time, but two or three times through the lineup?’ He got a ‘W’.”
Arroyo underwent an MRI earlier in the day; and while the results had not yet been announced ahead of first pitch of the series opener against Milwaukee, the Diamondbacks hoped whatever time Arroyo would miss would be minimal.
“Because he’s fun to watch pitch. He’s really been great for guys like Chase Anderson and (Josh) Collmenter and some of our young guys just on how you could go out there and still win when you don’t have your best stuff,” Towers said.
“It’s very unfortunate. But it would’ve been hard to run him back out there again…going to war was, he says, going against AK-47s with his little .22 (pistol). He still found a way to win, which was amazing.”