And, finally, Worley can admit it: That bone spur was troublesome all season long.
"I couldn't locate with it," Worley said. "You saw it. The numbers started skyrocketing. I couldn't throw a sinker in to a lefty like I always could. Cutters backdoor to a righty, in to a lefty, I couldn't do it.
"I was predictable. If you were a hitter and knew what you were doing, you would sit on one or the other. It wasn't going to break the other way."
Worley fought to keep pitching until the Phillies insisted he stop in September. He spent 20 days on the disabled list in May, which offered a brief reprieve from the pain. The elbow throbbed again soon after his return.
His numbers, compared to 2011, suffered. But he maintained a level of effectiveness with a 4.20 ERA and similar strikeout and walk rates. It raises the question: Had Worley been healthy in 2012 and equaled his 2011 output, would he still be a Phillie?
Worley deflected the query.
"You deal with Ruben more than I do," he said to reporters.
The one principle of Ruben Amaro Jr.'s tenure as Phillies general manager is the stockpiling of quality major-league starting pitching. He twice acquired Cliff Lee. He traded for both Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. He signed Cole Hamels to a $144 million contract.
The last pitcher with as much major-league experience before age 25 as Worley dealt by the Phillies was Vicente Padilla. And that was not until 2005, when Padilla was 28.
In Worley, the Phillies developed an asset they exchanged for centerfielder Ben Revere, a more pressing need. They traded him when his value was probably at its lowest, given his shaky health in 2012. The Phillies are banking on hitters eventually solving Worley's deception.
Last season, no pitcher in baseball threw more strikes called (35 percent) or recorded a higher percentage of strikeouts looking (57 percent) than Worley. Even with an injured elbow and damaged repertoire, he still fooled hitters.
Changing leagues could help Worley prolong that trickery. Eventually, though, he will have to adapt like any pitcher.
Minnesota lugged the American League's worst rotation ERA (5.40) in 2012. Their quest for pitching led them to Worley and bargain free-agent signings such as Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey.
With an injury to Scott Diamond, Worley is the favorite to start opening day at Target Field.
"It would be nice," Worley said. "I wouldn't mind that."
Similarly, he would not mind facing his former team in June when the Phillies make a trip to Minneapolis. His lasting memory is pitching every fifth day for a 102-win team in 2011. "I try to forget about last year," he said.
Above all, he is concerned about finding someone to assume the lease he signed on a house in Deptford. He had everything shipped from home in California immediately after his surgery only to ship it all back.
"So," Worley said, "if there's anyone over there who wants a house . . ."
Contact Matt Gelb at email@example.com. follow on Twitter @magelb.