A couple of weeks ago, when camp first opened, Baker did not know who he'd give the ball to for the opener. The decision ultimately came down to the fact that, as much as Harang wanted the assignment, Arroyo also wasn't all that interested in being the Reds' No. 1 starter."If I had my choice, I'd rather pitch two or three," Arroyo said. "Cincinnati is one of the few places that Opening Day is really like a holiday. For that reason, it's probably a little tough to concentrate on that day. There's so much stuff going on. I'd rather enjoy that day, soak in all the festivities and pitch the next day or day after that." "Nobody is more honest than Bronson," Baker said. "You might not like his answers. His answers will be honest. I love that. I ask a question, I want an honest answer. That's the reason you communicate and talk to your players." Baker also set the top four spots of Cincinnati's rotation. After Harang will be Johnny Cueto, followed by Arroyo, Homer Bailey and the still-unnamed fifth starter. There was reason behind the decision to split up Harang and Arroyo in the order. "So you don't tax your bullpen," Baker said. "Harang, you know will give you innings. Cueto is not as consistent. Arroyo is consistent. Homer, you don't know. The fifth starter, you don't know. You want to break up those guys, because what if you had Arroyo and Harang back-to-back and the next three guys aren't pitching well? You're going to kill your bullpen. When you get back to Harang, you'll have to stick with him longer because your bullpen is already spent." Harang won 16 games in both 2006 and '07 and was among National League leaders in wins, innings, starts and strikeouts. But struggles and injuries set him way back the past two seasons. In 2008-09, he was a combined 12-31 with a 4.52 ERA. Last season was particularly trying, as Harang finished 6-14 with a 4.21 ERA in 162 1/3 innings with 142 K's. His year ended in August because he had his appendix removed. In 13 starts from May 30-Aug. 3, Harang endured a nine-game losing streak. Over three of his past four seasons with the Reds, Arroyo has won at least 14 games. He posted a 15-13 record with a 3.84 ERA in 33 starts in 2009. Arroyo also isn't a fan of pitching day games and has a better record when working at night. However, his first start on April 8 vs. St. Louis will be a day game. "I told Dusty I'd pitch anywhere he wants me to pitch," Arroyo said. "It doesn't matter -- one through five -- it's fine by me. You can put a label on whatever you want -- I will take the ball 34 times. It doesn't matter."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.