CLEVELAND — Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta could receive a dent in his wallet for threatening to put a dent in Todd Frazier’s skull.
Major League Baseball can discipline Arrieta, probably in the form of a fine, for making such an extreme threat, but no conclusion had been reached as of Tuesday afternoon.
Arrieta made his comments after Saturday night’s 6-5 loss to the New York Mets. The right-hander was tagged for 11 hits and hit three batters over 4 1/3 innings. He hit Frazier in the fifth inning and took exception with some of the things he heard Frazier say to the umpire on his way to first base and after both benches were warned.
“Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me and I’ll put a dent in his skull,” Arrieta said. “He didn’t say (crap) to me. Talking to the umpire. I’m 25 feet away. He wants to come out there, he can come out there. We’ve had pretty good history in the past, but I don’t care about that. If he’s mad, then we can talk about it man to man.”
All three of the batters that Arrieta hit on Saturday night came on changeups. After the game, he said he had no control of the pitch and hinted at a health issue, which was later confirmed to be a possible bone spur in his elbow.
According to a source, Arrieta will have have tests on the elbow this week. He has pitched with discomfort in the elbow for some time and his performance has suffered. His ERA over his last seven starts is 6.63. He has given up 53 hits in 38 innings over that span as opponents have hit .329 with a .960 OPS.
It is unclear if Arrieta will continue to pitch through the problem or address it with surgery sooner rather than later.
Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto knew that Arrieta had been dealing with an elbow issue for some time.
“I know he’s getting an MRI or an X-ray,” Realmuto said at the All-Star Game. “I don’t know what's going to happen, but I know Jake and if there’s a way he can pitch through it he’s going to try.”
Can Arrieta be effective pitching through it?
“For me, he has been effective,” Realmuto said. “He’s shown spurts of being effective. I can tell when he gets to the 80-90 pitch mark, he really starts to feel it and he loses some control. He’s had multiple starts where he’s gone five, six innings, one run and then kind of imploded the last inning because he loses feel for the baseball a little bit.
“I’ve known his elbow has been hurting a little longer than most so it’s tough to see. He’s been effective but he can’t quite finish the way he should be able to. In his last start you could tell he had no feel for the baseball at all so I’m not sure it’s getting any better.”
For a Phillies team with serious question marks in the starting rotation, that is not good news.
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