Prior to the Phillies-Cubs game (GameTracker) on Wednesday, Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta told reporters that he will stop pitching this season because of nagging trouble from a bone spur in his right elbow. The 2015 Cy Young Award winner will undergo an MRI on Thursday, and then make a final decision regarding season-ending surgery to remove the spur. Right-hander Zach Eflin will take Arrieta's spot in the rotation.

"I would have liked it to go differently," Arrieta told reporters, including News Journal's Kevin Tresolini. "I would have liked to pitch the remainder of the season healthy. It's just something that I really couldn't control. The spur stayed pretty dormant for seven or eight years, and decided to give me trouble. This is really the only option for me to get back to the pitcher I am. This is what I have to do."

Arrieta, 33, had expressed second thoughts earlier this week about pitching through his elbow injury after his three inning outing (5 ER, 7 H) against the Giants on Sunday. Now, his absence results in a tough blow to the Phillies rotation. Arrieta has a 4.64 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 24 starts (135 2/3 innings pitched) for the Phillies this season. The veteran righty signed a three-year, $75 million deal with the Phillies during spring training in 2018. The contract contains an opt-out clause after the 2019 season.

Entering Wednesday, the Phillies (61-58) are two games back for the National League wild card. As the club continues to fight for a playoff spot, they'll have to get by with a rotation made up of Aaron Nola, Eflin, Vince Velasquez along with the July 31 trade deadline additions of Drew Smyly and Jason Vargas.