08/05/2009 5:45 PM ET
Arroyo: Injury affects everyday life
Reds righty can hardly hold a guitar pick or a pen
In 2004, before it was diagnosed at carpal tunnel syndrome, I started noticing some discomfort in my pitching hand. My guitar pick would fall out of my hand and I kept dropping pens or pencils when signing autographs. It was weird. It was like I had no power, no strength in my hand.
I continued to pitch with it into the playoffs and into the World Series that year. I seemed to be able to manage it OK while pitching out of the 'pen, but it was a different story when I would start a game. There, I'd be trying to manage seven innings versus one inning.
When the offseason came, I sort of forgot about it. I hadn't asked about it, and it sort of went away, I guess.
I really didn't notice any discomfort again for several years, until it came back strong again in '07. Then, it got worse this Spring Training, the worst it's ever felt. Now, I've been dealing with it all season long, and basically I haven't been able to do much with my right hand. I've tried to avoid using it even when I'm brushing my teeth or eating.
For me, once my hand is irritated there really isn't any pain involved. Instead, it feels more like half my arm has fallen asleep. The three fingers that I throw a baseball with are weak, numb and asleep. It feels like I just awakened after having slept on my arm all night.
I can pitch, though. Nobody would know about unless I told them, but it makes it a lot harder for me to hit my spots and to get people out. It's something I have to try to manage.
This year, I've had two cortisone shots, and, if weren't for the shots, I probably wouldn't be able to pitch effectively. If I didn't have the shots, I could still pitch, but I just wouldn't be able to get anybody out. I'm probably going to have to have a third cortisone shot before the year is out.
This offseason I'm probably going to have to get it cut on. I'm going to get surgery. They tell me it's a relatively simple procedure. I have to go in there and they will snip to give it a little more room. That way the swelling doesn't really press up against the nerves.
For the first time in my career, I've had to leave my guitar at home when we're on the road. I can't play much right now at all when it comes to music -- I can't play two songs, I can't play casually, and I can't write a song. It irritates me because, other than baseball, music and playing the guitar are what I really look forward to.
I have to put all of that on hold now just to make it through the baseball season.
Bronson Arroyo is 10-10 with a 5.10 ERA over 22 starts for the Reds this season. A World Series champion with Boston in 2004, Arroyo is also an accomplished singer, songwriter and guitar player, and in 2005 he released his album Covering the Bases.