- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

VIERA, Fla. — Right-hander Bronson Arroyo said he has a “significantly torn” right rotator cuff, but he’s not ready to call off his comeback attempt with the Washington Nationals just yet.

Arroyo, 39, has not pitched since June 14, 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was scratched from his start against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday because of a sore shoulder. The 15-year veteran said he is not going to have surgery and will either rehabilitate the injury or retire.

“I feel like it’s probably done,” he said Thursday. “But, we’re going to compare my old MRI [exam] from ‘14 to this one and just make sure, because I’m still really strong in a lot of positions, which I wasn’t the last time I was hurting.
“We’ll see. It might be something we can calm down and maybe try to rehab. It’s probably going to be a long shot at this point.”

Arroyo, an All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds in 2006, signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals in January. He was competing for a spot at the back of the rotation, but those spots clearly belong to Joe Ross and Tanner Roark.

Arroyo said he has not been fully healthy since the surgery. He had been hoping his shoulder would improve as he built his arm strength. Instead, his last outing on March 10 — when he threw three perfect innings against the Houston Astros — could be the final pitches of his career.

“If it stayed where it was, I could pitch with that,” said Arroyo, who has a career record of 145-131 with a 4.19 ERA. “But, it got the point in 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 around and pitch again [in five days].”

For now, he’s hoping doctors can find some way to let him keep pitching.

“This has been my life’s work,” he said. “You kind of have your eye on the prize since you’re a 5- or 6-year-old kid. This is what you do. You don’t really know anything else, so it’s definitely not something that’s going to be easy to walk away from if I have to.”

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