Mike Leake and Bronson Arroyo know each other pretty well.
After all, they spent four years together in the same starting rotation for the Reds before Arroyo joined the D-backs this season, and the veteran Arroyo was a mentor to the younger Leake.
The two right-handers will face off in the second game of a four-game series between Cincinnati and Arizona on Friday night at Chase Field, and while the experience will feel strange for both of them, they're each looking forward to the matchup.
"He's a friend I've had for four years," Leake said of Arroyo Thursday. "It will be like facing a friend, which is not always fun, but also fun in the same sense."
Arroyo said pitching against the Reds after being part of their starting rotation from 2006-13 means facing many former teammates that he mentored while in Cincinnati.
"It's a weird experience, man. It's not because it's an old team. It's a team I was with for a long time," Arroyo said. "Every guy on that team has come up under my wing in a bit. They were all trying to find their way in the game, and I was the older statesman on the team. It's strange, man. It's like pitching against your best friend, your neighbor, as a kid."
Arroyo said of all the pitching coaches he's had in his 15-year career, current Reds manager -- and Arroyo's former pitching coach in Cincinnati -- Bryan Price is one he became very close to.
"He was my pitching coach for three years, and I probably confided as much as anybody I've ever been with in the game as far as my pitching style," Arroyo said.
Arroyo has had an up-and-down season to this point, leading to a 4.15 ERA through his first 10 starts. But he is coming off a solid outing against the Mets in New York on Saturday, in which he allowed one run on six hits over six innings in a no-decision. Despite Arizona manager Kirk Gibson describing his elbow as "tender" following that start, Arroyo said Thursday the elbow is feeling well enough to start Friday.
"I'm fine," said Arroyo, who is 3-1 with a 1.90 ERA over his last six starts. "It's not 100 percent, but that's the way it is."
Leake, meanwhile, pitched well in his last outing, giving up two runs on seven hits over six innings, but took the loss as the Cardinals shut out the Reds, 4-0, on Sunday in Cincinnati.
Price is looking forward to seeing Arroyo on the mound, but wants first and foremost for his club to build some momentum with a win against his former pitcher.
"It'll be great to see him," Price said. "Obviously, we'll try to come here and attack and come back with a victory. And once we leave, I'll wish him nothing but the best."
Reds: Bruce trying to get in a groove at the plate
Right fielder Jay Bruce, who was on the disabled list from May 6-22 due to a torn meniscus in his left knee for which he had surgery, enters Friday's game against the D-Backs having gone 2-for-23 since returning to the lineup.
Price said Thursday that he doesn't think the knee has anything to do with Bruce's struggles at the plate, and is confident that he'll turn things around soon.
"I thought his best game was his first game back," Price said. "His swing was on time. His front side was staying close and he was doing a lot of good things. He'll get started. When he does, it will be a nice thing to see. He'll do some damage."
D-backs: Prado getting familial advice
D-backs third baseman Martin Prado is getting some help from a familiar face -- his mother, Irma.
"She's always trying to fix my swing," Prado said. "She don't know anything about my swing."
Right now, Prado doesn't need anyone helping his swing. Dating back to May 18, he is hitting .313 with his only two home runs of the season.
"She told me [Wednesday], 'Oh, you got the first one. So when you got the first one, you might have the second one," Prado said. "So I got the second one, and I've been talking to her, [and she said] 'You got the second one, you might have the third one.'
"I'm like: 'Ma, no. It's not like that. It's not that easy.'"
• The Reds' Skip Schumaker and Roger Bernadina have had success in their careers against Arroyo. Schumaker is 19-for-51 (.373) with two doubles and a home run against the right-hander. Bernadina is 7-for-10 with two doubles.
• The D-backs are tied for the second-most errors committed in the National League this season (42), while the Reds lead the league with the fewest errors committed (24).
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.