Arroyo’s ‘science project’ ready for test

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Veteran pitcher talks about his first bullpen session of spring training

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

He's old enough to be a former Major League baseball player, but Bronson Arroyo has asked his old team for one more chance to prove he can still pitch. That's a lot to ask for a guy who hasn't played in the big league game since 2014, but the Reds are willing to give it a try.

“I was talking to somebody one day and I said it’s almost like I ran my horse and instead of it stopping for a breather now and then I just ran mine until it just dropped dead,” Arroyo said. “I didn’t want to go through these two surgeries and just hang it up and never pitch again or at least give myself the best opportunity to see if it was going to work.”

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Arroyo has been through Tommy John elbow surgery and a shoulder repair since he last pitched for the Reds in 2013. Those proceedures didn’t do much to slow down his fastball since he’s never been a guy who tries to blow it by a hitter.

“Last year I was in camp with the Nationals and I wasn’t healthy at all but I was still able to throw strikes and get people out. I’m not so much worried about what’s going on inside of my game as much as can my arm handle the torque.”

You build a lot of confidence throwing over 23-hundred innings in 15 big league seasons, but time away from the game can also do a lot to tear it down.

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“If I’m totally honest I’m not sure when I put the pedal to the metal and we get into a game I’m not sure if my arm is going to handle it,” Arroyo said after his first bullpen session on Wednesday. “I haven’t done it successfully since surgery. I know I can go out there and throw one inning, but I’m not a one inning guy…it’s really a science project and we’re figuring it out as we go.”

That science project may give way to some old-fashioned math this spring. Arroyo turns 40 later this month and as excited as he is to get back on the mound, reality is never far away.

“I’ve kind of already gone through the death of my career because they told me last year I was probably done. To be honest with you, if it doesn’t work out this year I will walk out of here with the same smile on my face I have today.”

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