CINCINNATI -- Starter Bronson Arroyo was determined to pitch on Thursday for the Reds, even after word was already given that he was being pushed back to Sunday because of carpal tunnel soreness in his right arm. "Trust me, everything is negotiable," Arroyo said Monday morning after a 40-pitch bullpen session in front of coaches Dick Pole and Porky Lopez. About an hour later, Reds manager Dusty Baker announced that Arroyo would keep his original starting assignment vs. the Mets on Thursday. Fifth starter Micah Owings, who had been moved up to replace Arroyo, is now pitching on Saturday vs. the Pirates, with Aaron Harang going Sunday.
During the Reds' workout on Sunday, Arroyo said he felt he had earned the status that he could look the manager in the eye and say he could pitch. He has never missed a start because of an injury and didn't want to start now. "Bronson, I felt, was telling the truth. I trust him," Baker said. "He told me and Dick Pole that he felt good. Dick [agreed], so we changed our minds back again." Arroyo complained during camp that the carpal tunnel symptoms in his wrist made his fingers feel numb and sent little shocks up and down his entire arm. Over the weekend, he was given a cortisone shot and reported feeling much better. He played catch on Sunday without incident. "Ask Porky or Dickie Pole what they thought of it," Arroyo said of how he pitched in the bullpen. "Bronson threw really good," said Lopez, who caught Arroyo. Trying to build off of a career-high 15 wins in 2008, Arroyo's four consecutive seasons of 200 or more innings is the biggest indicator of his durability. "My arm feels great," Arroyo said after throwing on Monday. "I usually throw a little bit less, but I threw a really hard one just to let them know I'm not full of it when I say my arm feels fine." In other injury news, center fielder Willy Taveras was still moving around slowly in the clubhouse while battling the flu. It was revealed on Sunday that Taveras wouldn't start on Opening Day. Left fielder Jerry Hairston Jr. took Taveras' leadoff spot, while Darnell McDonald batted second and played center field against the Mets. Taveras hoped to return on Wednesday after Tuesday's off-day. First-base coach Billy Hatcher walked up to his locker wearing a surgical mask over his face as a joke. "I feel a lot better today, so we'll see," Taveras said. "It's a hard case."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.