So the mysterious bone bruise wasn’t the problem after all.
With his bruise healed but his pain persisting, sidelined closer Jonathan Broxton has decided to undergo a minor elbow operation Monday to shave down a bone spur and remove loose bodies.
Broxton went on the disabled list in early May, when an MRI exam showed he had a bruised elbow and bone spur. Figuring the bruise was responsible for Broxton’s pain, team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache prescribed rest.
The two-time All-Star made enough progress to pitch in a couple of minor league games in July, but had to be shut down when the pain returned.
Broxton again appeared to be recovering until Monday, when he threw off a mound and experienced discomfort soon after. He underwent a CT scan and an MRI exam on Thursday, which revealed that the bruise was healed and pointed to the bone spur and loose bodies as the probable source of his pain.
“I thought that was encouraging for Jonathan,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “It kind of explains what’s been going on.”
Broxton, who played cards with teammates on an overturned movie box in the Dodgers’ clubhouse, declined to comment.
The free-agent-to-be is expected to take six weeks to recover. He should be ready for the start of spring training.
But could the surgery have taken place sooner, given the Dodgers knew of the bone spur in May?
As an impartial observer who wasn’t consulted on the case, orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Gladstone of the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York said he didn’t think so.
While Gladstone hasn’t viewed Broxton’s medical records, he said the Dodgers’ course of treatment “definitely sounds reasonable.”
Gladstone pointed out that bone spurs are common among pitchers and many pitchers continue to throw even when they have them. Considering that, it was reasonable to think the bruise was the source of pain. Until the bruise healed, there was no way of knowing the bone spur was the problem.
Fernando Valenzuela was presented with the Hope of Los Angeles Award at City Hall by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. … Outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. underwent an MRI on his left shoulder, which he jammed on the Dodgers’ recent trip to Washington. Gwynn is expected to be limited to pinch-running for at least a couple of days. … Mexican regional singer Lupillo Rivera will headline La Gran Fiesta Viva Los Dodgers on Saturday. (Random fact: Rivera is the brother of Jenni Rivera, who is married to former Dodgers pitcher Esteban Loaiza.) The event, which starts at 2 p.m., will include autograph sessions by Valenzuela, Jaime Jarrin, Javy Guerra, Rod Barajas, Tommy Davis, Tim Leary, Ron Cey, Bill Russell and Steve Yeager. … Fan Appreciation Day is Sunday. More than 125 prizes will be given away.