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Bronson Arroyo surprised to be traded, feels bad because, ‘I just couldn’t do it’

LISTEN: Bronson Arroyo, Braves pitcher

Bronson Arroyo figured the Arizona Diamondbacks might be interested in trading him.

He just figured any deal would be put on hold until he proved he could pitch again.

Arroyo, out since last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, is still working his way back to the mound. Saturday, he and prospect Touki Toussaint were traded to the Atlanta Braves for infielder Phil Gosselin.

“I thought if I was anywhere near healthy there would be a possibility I would be traded,” Arroyo told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday. “I understood from last year that salary was a big deal here.”

Arroyo signed a two-year contract with the Diamondbacks in Feb. 2014. The deal called for him to earn $9.5 million in 2014 and 2015, with there being an $11 million team option for 2016. If the team decided not to pick up the option, Arroyo would be owed a $4.5 million buyout.

So, the decision to make the trade was made. D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said it was made not out of a lack of belief in Toussaint or even a need to shed Arroyo’s salary, but out of a desire to allow the team’s younger pitchers a chance to play while creating financial flexibility going forward.

The 38-year-old Arroyo was 7-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 14 starts for the D-backs last season, and seems to be a ways away from making any kind of on-field contribution this year.

“You realize that they were possibly building for the future and trying to pull back monetarily a little bit, but I didn’t think anyone would take me if I hadn’t at least thrown a couple minor league games yet,” Arroyo admitted.

The veteran said he’s still dealing with some pain in his elbow, and is understanding of the fact that it’s possible he might not pitch at all this season.

“For the D-backs, it was a great trade,” he said. “They’re dumping my salary for half this year and a buyout for the option if the Braves don’t want it,” he said. “So they’re dumping $9 million off the books for a guy who might not have pitched for them all year.”