MIAMI – An MRI on Derek Lowe’s sore elbow showed no ligament or tendon damage, but a bone chip that’s become lodged in the joint. The Braves veteran believes he can pitch through the discomfort.
Lowe, who missed his regular rotation turn Friday against the Florida Marlins, said he plans to make his next scheduled start Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
“Right now there’s really nothing you can do [about the bone chip],” said Lowe, who doesn’t know if he’ll need surgery to remove the chip after the season.
He said he’s been assured it won’t do further damage pitching with it. He had a cortisone shot – the first of his career – after his painful three-inning performance Sunday against Florida.
He will throw Saturday to test the elbow for the first time since Sunday, but Lowe doesn’t anticipate it keeping him out of the rotation.
“You have to [pitch],” said Lowe, 37, who has a reputation for durability and has never been on the disabled list in his major league career. “There’s nothing you can do. It can’t get worse.”
Lowe said he’s had the bone chip for a long time, but that it floated around the elbow and hadn’t caused problems until a month or so ago. He had an X-ray at that point, which showed the bone chip.
When the pain worsened in his last start, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam was done to show the bone and surrounding tissue in greater detail.
Lowe said the MRI showed the chip had become wedged in a crevice in the elbow, causing some swelling in tissue around it.
“It’s right here [points to the underside of right elbow],” he said. “It’s the weirdest thing. I don’t know what it is; I’m awful using all those big words. Basically it’s like there’s a little hole and the thing is literally stuck right in the hole.
“There’s nothing you can do about it [at this point of the season].”
Lowe said he and the Braves wanted to be sure he couldn’t do further damage by pitching with the chip and possible having it scrape against and damage a ligament.
“That’s what I wanted to be sure about,” he said. “Just got to deal with it. The biggest thing is you know that, like your triceps tendon sits back here, and you want to make sure you haven’t torn something.
“So now, since you know what it is, you just try to get down the swelling as much as you can in that area.”