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Arroyo improving, eyeing rehab stint in July

Veteran right-hander has progressed to throwing in three-quarter arm slot
MLB.com @WashingNats

WASHINGTON -- It looks like Nationals right-hander Bronson Arroyo is far from finished. In early May, he was throwing sidearm because of shoulder issues. Now, he is able to throw from the three-quarter arm slot.

Arroyo's shoulder feels so good these days that he is pitching in intrasquad games at the Nationals Spring Training complex in Viera, Fla. Entering Saturday's action, Arroyo already had pitched in two games, throwing a combined five innings without any problems.

Full Game Coverage

WASHINGTON -- It looks like Nationals right-hander Bronson Arroyo is far from finished. In early May, he was throwing sidearm because of shoulder issues. Now, he is able to throw from the three-quarter arm slot.

Arroyo's shoulder feels so good these days that he is pitching in intrasquad games at the Nationals Spring Training complex in Viera, Fla. Entering Saturday's action, Arroyo already had pitched in two games, throwing a combined five innings without any problems.

Full Game Coverage

During Spring Training, Arroyo had partial tears in his rotator cuff tendons and said he would retire if the injury required surgery.

Arroyo was able to work on the mound because he took four weeks off from pitching and just strengthened the shoulder. When he was ready to pitch again, Arroyo threw sidearm for about five weeks. Then he started playing catch and told the coaches he could throw "over the top again."

In the first intrasquad game, Arroyo threw sidearm in the first inning and then threw a few pitches from the three-quarter arm slot the following inning and realized the shoulder didn't feel so bad. In his second game, Arroyo pitched three innings over the top without any problems. As he put it, "it was like I was pitching normally."

"I guess my shoulder has turned the corner," Arroyo said. "Now, the shoulder feels pretty good. It's little less pressure throwing sidearm, but it has been OK throwing over the top. "

Arroyo is expected to have five more starts and then be re-evaluated by July 1. If things go well, he could begin a rehab assignment after that.

"I'm hoping my arm will survive. It has been a lot better than it was during Spring Training," Arroyo said. "I'm still not perfect yet, but I've been able to throw 40 to 50 pitches in the last few games, bounce back and be able to throw long toss without my arm being irritated. It's coming along a lot better than I thought. This spring I thought I was probably done. I'm hoping to turn the corner by July. Let's see what happens."

Arroyo has watched every game the Nationals have played this year and made it known that he would like to pitch for them before the season is over. He is willing to work out of the bullpen if need be.

"At this point in my career, I'm willing to do whatever. … I might get out here in the next five starts and realize I can throw two or three innings and I feel really good. When I get to the sixth and seventh, I might have a tough time," Arroyo said. "I'm open to anything right now. On a personal level, I received almost everything that I wanted to get out of this game. At this point, it's about being on a ballclub and having an opportunity to win."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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