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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bronson Arroyo's Last Game?

Later today after the Reds’ ninth loss in a row, Bronson Arroyo and Bryan Price will have a conversation.

The career of one of baseball’s top competitors appears to be in jeopardy.  June 18th, 2017 could well be the his last after 419 games and 383 starts that began on June 12, 2000, ironically as a pinch hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Atlanta Braves.

After a two and a half year absence with injuries, Arroyo made a valiant effort to add stability to a young Reds pitching staff, missing three projected starters.

The conversation today will go a long way to determine if Arroyo will pitch again.

“I am going to talk with Bronson and see how he’s doing,” Bryan Price said. “He’s not just challenged from stuff. I think he has some physical challenges that we will address.  We want to talk about where he’s at and how he’s feeling. If he’s having any physical issues, I wouldn’t put him back out there.”

Arroyo is having physical issues.  He has tears in his surgically repaired shoulder that have been treated with cortisone.  He is reaching the point of diminishing returns with the procedure.

‘I’m trying to pitch as comfortably as I could and hit my spots,” Arroyo said. “I’ve been hit around the yard for awhile. It’s a tough situation trying to perform when you feel like you’re running uphill and into the wind all the time.”

Bronson started to talk in the past tense.

‘I was hoping my arm was going to continue to get better and better as the year went on,” Arroyo said. “It is almost like it’s telling me ‘hey man, I’m not going to run this race for you anymore’.”

Arroyo was preparing to talk to his manager before the team leaves for Tampa to start a six game road trip.

“I will talk to him later today,” Arroyo said. “I think my arm is going to be checkmate. I’ve got some tears in my shoulder we’ve been masking with cortisone for awhile and it held up for the first three months. I got a second shot and it disappeared after three weeks. It’s almost like the body has gotten used to cortisone which it does.”

“Like he’s (Price) told me, I don’t mind if you’re going out there throwing 81,82, 83 miles an hour as long as you’re not in pain.  Now I’m in pain. You can tell the velo is going down. It makes it that much harder to pitch, command and compete.”

Will the disabled list and rest help?

“I don’t know,” Arroyo said. “I’ve been on this grind for awhile.  There have been times when you think you are turning the corner and things are getting a little bit better and getting a little bit stronger.  You think o.k. we’ll work in some things. Of late it’s kind of going south the other way..I will have a conversation with Bryan and we’ll see what happens.”

Arroyo believes his stuff plays better as a starter but would consider the bullpen.

“I would consider the bullpen,” Arroyo said.  “If my arm is healthy, I’d love to pitch. It has been a struggle the last three years.  Going out there each day, it hasn’t been horrible but you have to be running at a certain amount of optimal speed to compete. I just continue all year, I fell like I’m a notch lower than I used to be at my best. You continue to come down that latter and you get two notches below where you used to be. It becomes really difficult to get a good big league ballclub out.”

Could this be it?

“It could be,” Arroyo said. “I mean when I’m throwing my bullpens and I’m in a significant amount of pain. I’ve been dealing with the same two arm issues for awhile. The elbow, “Tommy John” is like changing the chain on a bike. It doesn’t matter how bad the chain was if the rest of the bike is o.k., you can change out the chain and continue to move forward. But your shoulder is like your favorite shirt, you’ve worn for the last 15 years and it’s been washed too many times and you get some tears in there and it gets brittle. When you have some tears in there, there is not a whole lot you can do with it. The cortisone helped but it looks like it’s not going to work anymore.so I don’t know that we have anymore options.”

“It went through my mind today,” Arroyo said.  “Last year with the Nationals, I thought I was going to be checkmated there even before spring training was over. I’ve been grinding like hell to be here where I am now I’ve been thinking about it. Even if you put that aside, you have to be successful. You have to put up enough quality starts for a ballclub to keep you around.”

“It could have been the last time I’m on the field.  It’s just the way it is,” Arroyo said.

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