CINCINNATI -- Starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo wasn't even expected to make the Red Sox rotation before Boston dealt him in March. But Arroyo has repeatedly proven to be the perfect fit for the Reds pitching staff. The latest validation in the thriving marriage between Arroyo and Cincinnati came Sunday. The right-hander was named the club's lone representative to the National League All-Star team.
It will be Arroyo's first All-Star Game experience. The game will be played July 11 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. "Since I've been in this uniform, everything has played out nicely," said Arroyo, who named to the team in a players' vote. "Starting off as hot as I have and us being in contention like we are as a team no one expected to be here, for me to make the All-Star team was something I never expected." Needed to bolster the rotation when the Reds acquired him from Boston in the March 20 trade for slugger Wily Mo Pena, Arroyo has been one of the season's best steals. The 29-year-old is 9-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 17 starts, including two complete games. He has worked 118 2/3 innings, which is third best in the NL. Arroyo's success has been a key reason that second-place Cincinnati has been at or near the top of the NL Central division all season. "Outstanding -- it's well deserved," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "He's meant everything to this ballclub with what you've seen this year. He's really helped our starters and that's [why were are] where we are, because of our starting pitching." Arroyo planned to soak up the All-Star scene, especially during Monday's festivities that include the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby on ESPN. "It's an honor just to be there," said Arroyo, the first Reds All-Star starting pitcher since John Smiley in 1995. "I don't care about the performance in the game. It's an honor to wear that uniform and be able to step on the field and go through all the stuff and see some old [Boston] teammates on the other side." Arroyo will also have the extra satisfaction of making his All-Star debut in Pittsburgh, where he began his pro career and debuted in the Majors in 2000. The Pirates let him go and dealt him to Boston before 2003. "It's pretty cool to go back to the place where you pretty much got released from and be in the All-Star Game," Arroyo said. "That makes it a little more special. Hopefully, I won't get booed for the stuff I said in the paper earlier this year." During a Reds series at Pittsburgh in May, Arroyo ripped the Pirates organization and front office. "It'll probably be an out-of-town crowd, mostly. I still might get booed a little bit, who knows?" Arroyo said. Based on his numbers and big performances, Arroyo was long considered the Reds' only lock as an All-Star. Barring any roster changes this week, he turned out to be the only Reds' All-Star, period. Other deserving candidates like second baseman Brandon Phillips and catcher David Ross did not make the club as reserves. Neither Ross nor Phillips ascended into starting spots for the Reds until later in the season, which might have hurt their chances.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.