Bronson Arroyo always has been comfortable with himself, not shy about displaying his rock star persona in a testosterone-laden baseball clubhouse.
Now, Arroyo’s been forced to get comfortable with another inevitable fact of life: he’s not the guy he once was.
In the veteran pitcher’s case, that means a fastball that doesn’t break the 90-mph barrier like it did a few years back.
After giving up a pair of runs to the White Sox through two innings of work in the Reds’ 4-0 loss at Camelback Ranch, Arroyo said he stuck to a similar off-season regimen to the one he followed last year. The 36-year-old improved his strength but didn’t get all the velocity back from his youth, although he doesn’t think he needs it.
“What you saw last year is probably about all I’ve got. Most days I’m gonna probably be throwing 87, 89, and that’s enough for me to be successful,” Arroyo said. “I wanted to push it and see if I bounce back to 90, 91, but I really can’t get back. Except on exceptional days. As long as I can throw it 88, 89, I feel like I can command games.”
Although he gave up five hits, Arroyo said he had good control, which is half the battle in early starts.
“I felt decent, about like you always do the first time out. Not terrible, just had command and threw a lot of strikes,” Arroyo said. “I’m pretty happy about that. That’s really the most important thing. Feeling stronger as the spring goes on is really the goal.”
Arroyo had been suffering from the flu the first week of camp, but said he’s had no ill effects of late.
Tough to score: Phenom Billy Hamilton has struggled at the plate through the Reds’ first 10 games, and he went down on strikes in a pinch-hitting role Saturday. In the sixth inning, Hamilton came on to pinch hit for Chris Heisey, and again got in an 0-2 hole before swinging at strike three. That was his seventh strikeout of the spring.
This after finally showing some of the fear he can instill in opponents on Friday, when he reached on an opposite-field hit, then stole second and third base.
“He’s been striking out a lot. He has no chance to do anything when he strikes out,” Baker said of Hamilton.
Hamilton stole a minor-league record 155 bases last season between Bakersfield (Single-A) and Pensacola (Double-A).
Extra bases: Homer Bailey is set to get his second start of the spring today when the Reds square off with the Royals back at Goodyear Ballpark (3:05 p.m.). Bailey threw one inning on Tuesday but will likely get at least another inning’s work. … Through the first five innings on Saturday, the Reds had just one hit, but it was one Reds fans like to see: Joey Votto roped a double that bounced to the right-field wall.