Arroyo moves closer to joining Reds rotation

Bronson Arroyo pitched the planned four innings Thursday in a 4-2 loss to the White Sox and felt no pain in his elbow or shoulder.

“I felt really crisp the first three innings,” the 40-year-old right-hander said. “The fourth inning I got a little bit tired. I’m getting in shape. It felt like a regular spring game where I’m getting built up. Today has proven that my body can handle whatever we throw at it. It’s just a matter of getting in shape. I’m feeling no discomfort, tightness or anything in my shoulder and elbow. It’s all forearm, just getting the ball over the plate.”

Arroyo allowed two runs on a home run by minor leaguer Nicky Delmonico in his last inning. He allowed three doubles but one was a blooper by Peter Bourjos that he hustled into a two-base hit. Arroyo walked one and struck out two.

The veteran isn’t taking any chances. He does not want to get hit by a ball back up the middle, as Tim Adleman has three times in his last four outings.

“I pitched in the whole game, except one curveball to Todd Frazier,” Arroyo said. “I didn’t want to get hit with a line drive. I only pitched to one side of the plate, which makes you feel like your back is against the wall because they’ve seen all your pitches inside.

“They were jamming themselves and hitting weak ground balls. I feel at this point getting the work in is more important than results. Most times when they hit the ball back through the middle it is an outside pitch that they are waiting on longer. I’m not on a guaranteed contract. If I get hit, like I did in 2013 and I thought I broke my hand, my career would be over.”

Arroyo remains solidly in the hunt for the rotation, which manager Bryan Price hopes to have set by nest Wednesday when the Reds leave Arizona, but the competition is as intense as ever. Two of the seven contenders will start the season in the bullpen, even though they are seen as starters long-term.

“Every one of those guys can help us right now,” Price said. “Based on what goes on with Bronson, if he continues to progress, it would be nice to be able to see him in our rotation with two young starters, with two other young starters in the bullpen to build length, get experience and gain confidence that will allow them to get into our rotation later on.”

“That is what is exciting. I’ve talked to the young starters about that scenario. Should they start the season in the bullpen, that does not define their role as a major leaguer.”

“It comes down to competition and what we see with our eyes. Who has the presence and composure? Who drops their head when things get sideways? Who competes through it? Who can handle coming out of the bullpen? It’s exciting. We have a unified group in that those who don’t make the major leagues will impact the major-league staff over the course of the season.”

Top speed: The lineup is starting to take shape. Billy Hamilton will lead off and Price is leaning toward Jose Peraza, another speedster, batting second.

“If I had to start the season today, it would probably be Hamilton, Peraza,” Price said. “Peraza doesn’t have a lot of big-league experience but the time he did have last year, he swung the bat really well and was an effective base stealer. It’s going to be fluid. I think they are a couple of guys who can get on base and wreak havoc. They can cause concern for the pitcher with Joey (Votto) and (Adam) Duvall up next.

“At least on the onset that looks like a good idea. I think hitting second behind Billy requires giving him the opportunity to run a little bit. Jose and Zack (Cozart) are free swingers. If they get a good pitch to hit, they don’t want to wait around. It will be a work in progress.”

Trouble at home: Pitcher Raisel Iglesias revealed Thursday that he injured his right elbow and hips when he fell in the shower at home three weeks ago.

Iglesias hasn’t appeared in a Cactus League game since March 14. An MRI on his right (throwing) elbow came back negative, but Iglesias is questionable for the beginning of the season, although he expects to begin a throwing program Sunday.

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