Arroyo's debut 'as good as I could have hoped'

Arroyo's debut 'as good as I could have hoped'

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- In trying to make his comeback as a non-roster player in Spring Training, Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo wondered how his body would hold up in game situations, and how his stuff would hold up vs. experienced big league hitters.

Arroyo got a positive response to both questions in Sunday's 4-2 win over the Brewers during his two-scoreless-inning Cactus League debut.

"Today was as good as I could have hoped for, all around, as far as how I felt like I was commanding the ball," said Arroyo, who allowed one hit and struck out two. "I felt strong enough to compete at this level and also not have any pain anywhere. I really couldn't have asked for anything better."

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According to scouts, Arroyo's velocity was between 84 mph and 87 mph. In the first inning, leadoff hitter Scooter Gennett scorched a hard single on the ground through the middle but was left stranded.

Between a pair of flyouts in the first, Arroyo struck out Eric Thames with a curveball.

"It was a slow, inside curveball, because he got on that curveball the first time away," Arroyo said. "We tried to pound him in, and he jerked right on it, so we went inside curveball, took a little off and got him out front."

How slow was that breaking ball to Thames? Arroyo didn't know.

"It was as slow as it needs to be," catcher Devin Mesoraco interjected.

Arroyo retired the side in order in the second with a groundout, a strikeout and a flyout.

"A bunch of tricks; he's got a lot of stuff up his sleeve whenever he needs it," Mesoraco said. "He keeps doing his thing, same as always."

A key member of the Reds from 2006 to 2013, Arroyo is trying to come back after missing the last two seasons with injuries. Midway through the 2014 season with the D-backs, he needed Tommy John surgery and another procedure to repair his shoulder. Last season, with the Nationals organization, he tore his rotator cuff during Spring Training.

"I've been saying all along that if I'm healthy and throwing the ball over the plate, and can't make this ballclub, I'm not going to pitch anywhere anymore," Arroyo said. "We still have a few really crucial couple of weeks coming up. We'll see what happens."

With news of Anthony DeSclafani having a setback with his elbow that will likely mean beginning 2017 on the disabled list, there are three rotation spots open. Several prospects are competing, but manager Bryan Price is open-minded about Arroyo and feels that Arroyo could be a starter or a reliever.

"I think we have to get further down the road with his health before we put him in the equation, but he is going to be given that opportunity to go out there and win a job on the staff," Price said. "Nothing would warm my heart any more than to be able to add a guy like Bronson to a rotation that is comprised with three young starters to go with [Scott] Feldman and a couple other rookies. We'll see."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.