Rejuvenated Arroyo excited for Reds reunion

Minor League deal expected to be announced soon

Rejuvenated Arroyo excited for Reds reunion

CINCINNATI -- Bronson Arroyo hasn't pitched for the Reds since 2013, but he still has the power to draw a crowd. When Arroyo walked into the Holy Grail Restaurant across the street from Great American Ball Park on Tuesday night, he was greeted warmly and dozens of autograph seekers came out of the woodwork quickly.

In town to see a concert, Arroyo agreed a few weeks ago to appear on the Reds Hot Stove radio program. But as it so happens, he's also close to a deal that would bring him back to the team he pitched for from 2006-13 on a Minor League contract. Arroyo thought his contract could be finalized either by the end of this week or early next week.

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"We're just getting to the point where we're trying to button up some things," Arroyo said before going on the radio. "They're buttoning up things on their end and getting our ducks in a row as far as the organization and everything else."

Reds general manager Dick Williams said last week that the club has seen Arroyo throw and was doing its due diligence. The deal would come with an invite to Spring Training as a non-roster player and Arroyo would compete for a rotation spot. He will turn 40 years old on Feb. 24 and hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2014 with Arizona.

Although he never missed a start for Cincinnati, Arroyo has missed the last two seasons with injuries, including Tommy John surgery and a shoulder repair in '14 after he made 14 starts. With Washington last year, he tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder. However, Arroyo feels the injuries are behind him.

"I'm just straight-up ready to go," Arroyo said.

Arroyo was 105-94 with a 4.05 ERA in 265 starts over his eight seasons. Including 2005 with Boston, he pitched 200 or more innings in eight of the next nine seasons.

Just over a year ago, the Reds and Arroyo came close to a deal before he ultimately signed a Minor League contract with the Nationals. However, he was limited to three spring starts and two in the Gulf Coast League before being shut down in early July.

"My arm just wouldn't hold up to the torque. It wasn't ready," Arroyo said.

A stem cell injection to his elbow in August helped him get healthy again.

"I couldn't sit here and say I will be over the hump now," he said. "That's what Spring Training is going to be for -- to see how much my arm will take."

If Arroyo does rejoin the Reds, he will go to camp with a lot of younger pitchers to compete against for the fifth spot in the rotation. The club will take a long look at prospects Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett and Sal Romano, among others. Lauded for his leadership qualities, Arroyo would most assuredly set a good example for the younger players.

"I think if I'm healthy, I can make the club, especially this club. I went eight years and gave them 105 wins," Arroyo said. "I don't think I'm in a position for people to tell me that I don't have good enough stuff to get people out in the Major Leagues. I think the hitters will let me know that.

"Also, having [manager] Bryan Price and him knowing what I can do, maybe, with limited stuff. If I go out there and throw 85 mph, he's not going to be panicked as some managers might be."

Arroyo looked forward to competing with the team where he spent most of his career.

"To be honest with you, anything in the game from here on out is icing on the cake," Arroyo said. "There's absolutely no stress. I just want to be around the game, and people I enjoy. That's why I've said this entire offseason that I'm either going to play here or not playing anywhere else.

"I want to be in a locker room where I know people from top to bottom and comfortable. If it doesn't work, at least I can leave in a place where I can say I had some impact on the organization even though my arm wasn't working. I can help some of the young guys out and feel that I've done my part."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. 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.