By C. Trent Rosecrans
We expect strains, sprains and tears this time of year, but "valley fever" may be a new one.
From the Mayo Clinic website :
Valley fever is a fungal infection caused by coccidioides (kok-sid-ee-OI-deze) organisms. It can cause fever, chest pain and coughing, among other signs and symptoms.
The coccidioides species of fungi that cause valley fever are commonly found in the soil in certain areas. These fungi can be stirred into the air by anything that disrupts the soil, such as farming, construction and wind. The fungi can then be breathed into the lungs and cause valley fever, also known as acute coccidioidomycosis (kok-sid-e-oi-doh-mi-KOH-sis).
Mild cases of valley fever usually go away on their own. In more severe cases of valley fever, doctors prescribe antifungal medications that can treat the underlying infection.
Still, Arroyo said he expects to make his scheduled start on April 3 against the Brewers, as well as the Reds' final spring game, Tuesday.
The A's Conor Jackson missed five months of 2009 with valley fever when he was with the Diamondbacks. Jackson dropped 35 pounds due to the Valley fever, but didn't have it diagnosed until a month into the season.
Arroyo is skinny and struggles to keep on weight to begin with, so if it is valley fever, it could have lasting effects on a pitcher so slight. Arroyo's calling card has been durability despite his frame, throwing at least 200 innings each of the last six seasons.
However, Arroyo did throw 5 2/3 innings in a minor league game on Thursday, allowing three earned runs, six hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
"I felt good yesterday," Arroyo told Fay. "I'm not sure what my velocity was, but I felt strong. My command was good."
UPDATE: Arroyo has been diagnosed with mononucleosis. (MLB.com )