PHILADELPHIA — Jake Arrieta gritted his teeth and tried.
But eventually continuing as a starting pitcher for the Phillies just didn’t make sense any more.
Arrieta announced Wednesday that he would undergo an MRI on Thursday and probably soon undergo season-ending surgery to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow.
In his last start on Sunday, Arrieta allowed seven hits and five runs in three innings in a 9-6 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
“I realized that I’m not able to give the team what it needs. The pain is something I can deal with, but it’s the loss of feel and the ineffectiveness as the outings wear on.”
Zach Eflin will return to the starting rotation after a few weeks in the bullpen and pitch Saturday night against the San Diego Padres in Arrieta’s spot in the rotation. Philadelphia put Arrieta on the 10-day injured list and promoted backup first baseman Logan Morrison from triple-A to take Arrieta’s spot on the roster.
Arrieta, 33, will probably finish the season 8-8 with a 4.64 ERA. But he had not thrown more than 5.2 innings in his last seven starts. In three August starts, he allowed 16 hits and nine runs in just 12 innings.
“I think we ran a really good process,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “Specifically, we gave this a chance to work and every fifth day he, despite being uncomfortable and not being able to execute his pitches the way he wanted to, gave us everything he had. It was genuinely a heroic effort in a lot of ways.”
Arrieta said he first felt the bone spur in spring training. It hindered the movement and command of his pitches.
“Going out there at this level with only a fastball that I can throw for strikes is not a really good spot to be in,” Arrieta said. “I’m physically limited at this point.”
Arrieta is confident he can bounce back from the injury. He underwent the same procedure in 2011 with the Baltimore Orioles.
“I’m pretty comfortable with the process after the recovery,” he said. “It’s not a long period of time where I’ll be down for. There’s no doubt that I’ll have a completely healthy offseason going into next year.”
Arrieta signed a three-year, $75 million deal with the Phillies in 2018. He could have opted out of the contract after this season and become a free agent. But with this injury that is unlikely to happen now.
“I guess we’ll have that conversation,” Arrieta said when asked about the option. “I still want to be here, though. I can tell you that.”