PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Though he admitted real concern his career might be over due to a shoulder injury, Bronson Arroyo did cling to a small glimmer of hope Thursday morning, waiting for the Nationals medical staff to review the enhanced MRI taken the previous day by - in Arroyo's words - a "non-baseball person."
"That's why we want to take a couple days to really analyze it and make sure there's no way I can bring this thing back from the dead," the 39-year-old right-hander said.
By Friday night, it wasn't entirely clear whether Arroyo's career was on life support or had already flat-lined.
At one point, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reported the Nationals' reading of an enhanced MRI taken this week showed no tear of either Arroyo's rotator cuff or labrum, only inflammation of the bursa sac. Shortly after, the Nationals refuted that assessment.
"The report out there is not consistent with what our team doctors are saying," a club spokesman said following a 12-7 victory over the Mets at Tradition Field.
The Nationals plan to meet with Arroyo on Saturday, compare the MRI they took with one taken by the Diamondbacks two years ago when he suffered a minor rotator cuff tear while pitching for Arizona and collectively decide a course of action from there.
Whether the right-hander, who also had Tommy John surgery in June 2014 and hasn't pitched in the big leagues since, is able to rehab this injury (no matter the extent) and take the mound again remains a completely open-ended question.
For those confused by the whole matter, a refresher on the recent timeline of events ...
* After feeling considerable shoulder pain following last week's three-inning start against the Astros, Arroyo was shut down and held out of his scheduled outing Wednesday against the Marlins.
*MLB Network's Peter Gammons reported Wednesday night that Arroyo had suffered an 80 percent tear of his labrum.
* On Thursday, Arroyo said he had a "significant tear" of the rotator cuff, not the labrum. Unless he could rehab the tear without surgery, Arroyo admitted he would be forced into retirement.
* The Nationals planned to get a copy of the 2014 MRI taken by the Diamondbacks and compare it to this latest one before making any final decision. Head athletic trainer Paul Lessard said this MRI was read by a Melbourne, Fla., orthopedic surgeon who works with the club during spring training.
* Rosenthal reported Friday night the injury was merely bursa sac inflammation, not a rotator cuff tear, and suggested Arroyo could be back throwing in seven to 10 days.
* The Nationals said that report was "not consistent" with their own findings.
Now all parties plan to meet Saturday to determine once and for all what exactly is going on inside Arroyo's shoulder and what he should do next.
Perhaps then the truth will be revealed.
"It's just getting frustrating about all these reports that are coming out every day," an agitated Dusty Baker said Friday night. "Everybody has the inside scoop, and they're all reporting wrong. That gets me, man."
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