New Diamondbacks right-hander Jeremy Hellickson is the first to admit that had he known bone chips were rattling around in his right elbow during the 2013 season, he would have sought a remedy.

But he did not. So he kept pitching. The Midwestern work ethic probably played into. The fact that Tampa Bay was in a pennant race certainly did.

"I guess I was just kinda determined to make every start and try to help the team get to the playoffs," Hellickson said.

"It didn't end up working out."

The injury and ensuing surgery affected Hellickson's numbers the last two seasons, but his commitment and positive medical reports encouraged the D-backs that a return to form can be expected. General manager Dave Stewart had the best seasons of his career after 1986 surgery to remove bone chips.

Hellickson, who is expected to slot into the No. 2 or No. 3 spot in the D-backs' rotation, was the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year for the Rays and a three-time double-digit winner, even as he pitched through discomfort while making 31 starts in 2013. By the end of that season Hellickson could not fully extend his arm because the chips became lodged in a bad spot, and when offseason rest did not help, he underwent surgery to remove the chips in early February and missed the first three months of 2014.

"Towards the last half of the (2013) season, I felt some forearm tightness and soreness and just thought it was a fatigue thing," Hellickson said from his Des Moines, Iowa, home. "Throwing every five days for three years, kind of one of those things.