Arroyo-Reds reunion a possibility

Arroyo-Reds reunion a possibility

CINCINNATI -- One of the more popular Reds in recent years, pitcher Bronson Arroyo, reports that his arm is feeling better and he's hoping for a possible return to his former team.

Arroyo, a 38-year-old free agent, has not pitched since the middle of the 2014 season after he needed Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow while with the D-backs. He confirmed a WCPO.com report that he recently had breakfast with Cincinnati manager Bryan Price in Arizona and discussed the possibility of joining the rebuilding Reds.

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"It's a good fit for both sides," said Arroyo, who pitched in Cincinnati from 2006-13. "It's such a young staff and it's also an opportunity to pitch in a comfortable place and prove to people I can pitch. The question is, are they interested enough to give me an incentive-based contract that compares with what another team might offer? I don't know what that number should be."

The Reds are open to the idea of having Arroyo back in the fold, but it's not a lock that they will sign him.

"We had a very positive experience with Bronson when he was here," Reds general manager Dick Williams said. "If he is healthy and able to pitch effectively again, I am sure we would give him consideration."

Arroyo was 105-94 with a 4.05 ERA in 265 starts over his eight seasons for the Reds and never missed a start because of a health issue. He pitched 200 innings or more in seven of the eight seasons -- with the exception being 199 innings in 2011.

After signing a two-year, $23.5 million contract with Arizona in 2014, Arroyo unknowingly pitched much of the first half of the season with a torn ligament in his elbow and had surgery. Despite not throwing an inning this season, he and his contract were traded twice -- first to the Braves and then to the Dodgers. He last threw in instructional league with the Dodgers in October before being shut down with discomfort. His $11 million club option was not exercised by Los Angeles and he received a $4.5 million buyout.

Arroyo, who was in downtown Cincinnati Wednesday for personal reasons, has been working out the past month in Arizona. The discomfort he had been feeling is gone and he felt optimistic.

"Beginning five days ago, I'm finally pain-free," Arroyo said. "I can simulate pressure on my elbow and I started stressing it and then I felt six pops -- it was scar tissue breaking up. In three days, I went from not being sure if I can throw again to feeling perfect. I feel brand-new now."

Arroyo planned to return home to Florida and resume throwing again Dec. 1. 

"I'll have a normal offseason," he said. "I'll just play catch and prepare to pitch for somebody."

Other than Homer Bailey, who is also trying to return from Tommy John surgery, the Reds currently have all young pitchers or prospects set to be in the 2016 rotation. While open to any possibility, Cincinnati is definitely Arroyo's preferred landing spot for numerous reasons -- chiefly the familiarity.

"If the money is the same, Cincinnati is the best place for me to pitch in 2016," Arroyo said. "When you're coming back from not being on a mound for a year and a half, you don't want to be learning a new staff, a new manager and ballpark. In Cincinnati -- I know the city, the people in the organization, the beat writers, the mound and many of the teammates.

"[Price's] main thing would be having me around and setting an example on being a professional. ... I could inform guys that at some point down the road could help turn the team back into a contender."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.