Bronson Arroyo’s first season as an Arizona Diamondback has been a bit of a challenge.
Signed to a three-year deal at the beginning of spring training, he missed much of the exhibition season due to a back injury and then got off to a rocky start when the games started to count.
Four starts into his D-backs career, Arroyo was carrying a 1-2 record with a 9.50 ERA.
Things have turned around, however, and now the 37-year-old is coming off his team-best sixth victory after allowing one run on six hits in seven innings in a 4-1 victory over the Houston Astros.
Though he’s not always feeling 100 percent, lately he’s found a way to get the job done.
“There’s so many guys who are breaking all the time and I can’t speak for anybody else because I can’t get inside their body, but I’ve been out on the mound plenty of times and more than half my starts this year where I’m just absolutely hurting out there,” Arroyo told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday afternoon. “And I haven’t really been in that position a lot in my career.
“I’ve probably had 500 starts throughout my professional career, including the minor leagues, and most of the time I’ve been pretty comfortable with a healthy arm. But it just hasn’t been that way this year.”
Arroyo, who now boasts a 6-4 record with a 4.22 ERA, has not once been placed on the disabled list during his big league career.
But that does not mean he’s always feeling great; instead, it just means he’s always felt good enough to pitch.
“I’ve got to take some (mph) off sometimes so you don’t break down,” he added. “I’m trying to give this team what they deserve, which is 200 innings and 20 quality starts.”
So, if Arroyo has to go with a fastball that sits in the low 80s, if it means he can continue taking the ball every fifth day, that’s what he’s going to do.
But sometimes, it could also be a function of him just not feeling good enough to throw any harder. Arroyo said while his back hasn’t been an issue since spring, his elbow has been causing him problems.
“My elbow has been killing me for probably the last five or six starts,” he said. “And I just can’t let the ball go, man, because if I do I feel like something’s going to break. It’s already swelling up as much as it is after the starts, and if I continue to just beat on it it’s not going to be able to bounce back in four or five days.
“You try to get out there and kind of conserve as much as you possibly can and still get outs. It’s not comfortable and it’s not fun. You feel like you’re in a firefight when everybody else has an AK-47 and you’ve got a handgun. But you rely on command and some sort of savvy out on the mound to try to get outs.”
The veteran of now 15 MLB seasons and more than 2,300 major league-innings is hoping to pitch through this issue until the All-Star break, which would then give him a chance to rest the elbow and get it ready for the second half of the season. That means getting through five more starts.
“I’ve done this for the last 20 years and never missed a start. I’ve always found ways to pop out the other side healthy,” he said. “My brain keeps telling me, regardless of how bad it gets, ‘You’re going to find a way, you’re going to find a way.’
“So I just ride it until I absolutely can’t anymore, and hopefully you turn the corner before something bad happens.”