Arroyo wins OK to move up a day
By Marc Lancaster / Post staff reporter
Bronson Arroyo had his reasons lined up when he approached pitching coach Tom Hume during batting practice Wednesday afternoon.
The right-hander wanted to come back on three days' rest and start Saturday afternoon rather than waiting until his regular turn Sunday, and he had three primary objectives in doing so:
First, he thought changing up his routine might help him emerge from a recent stretch of relatively mediocre starts.
Second, he wanted to make sure he faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the Reds' two upcoming series against the division leaders, something he wouldn't have been assured of if he remained on turn.
Third, moving him up would allow Kyle Lohse to slide into the rotation Sunday on a more regular starting routine.
"Haven't won a game in eight starts, so let's mix something up," Arroyo said. "Hopefully I'll feel better on three days' (rest) than four."
Arroyo hasn't picked up a victory since June 19. He threw 109 pitches Tuesday night against the Dodgers, allowing 10 hits and four runs in six innings. No one is terribly concerned with the prospect of putting more strain on the pitcher's arm. In fact, Arroyo said he wishes he could pitch on what is now considered short rest all the time.
"I've been wanting to go to a four-man rotation all year," he said. "I know nobody else wants to do that. A five-man rotation, if you stay on your normal days, is fine for everybody. But the thing is, when you start throwing in all these off days and you go to six, I know some guys like that for rest and they feel good, but I have even more of a problem with my command and I never have as good stuff. I'd rather pitch on three days' rest than five."
Arroyo has worked on three days' rest just once before in his big-league career. That was a long time ago, Aug. 1, 2000 for the Pirates against the Dodgers in the second game of a doubleheader. He allowed two runs in six innings that time, and recalled Thursday that he felt great on the mound.
"Usually when you're out there playing catch, a lot of pitchers will tell you the day before their start, 'Wow, my arm feels really good, I wish I could pitch today,'" said Arroyo. "So we'll see what happens."
Manager Jerry Narron said he had no objections to the plan when Arroyo came to him Wednesday.
"Not one bit," said Narron. "Not when the pitcher comes to you saying, 'I feel great and I really want to do this.' If it would have been me going to him, it's different."
Narron was especially pleased that Arroyo wanted to make sure he got the ball against the Cardinals. With the new alignment, Arroyo will start the finale of the homestand next Thursday. He likely will also start the opener of the Reds' series at Busch Stadium on Aug. 15.
The fact that the upcoming series represent the Reds' final games this year against the team they're chasing in the division was not lost on Arroyo.
"This is it if we're trying to win the division," he said. "Obviously, if they beat us two out of three or three out of four, whatever it is, in those two series, then we're probably just looking at the wild card. It's definitely going to be two big series for us."