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05/05/08 7:33 PM ET
Arroyo feels healthy despite slump
Starter says early-season problems are not injury-related
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- There will be no X-rays or MRI exams in Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo's immediate future. Arroyo met with manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Dick Pole in Baker's office on Monday. On Sunday, after Arroyo was hammered for seven runs in just 1 1/3 innings in a 14-7 loss to the Braves, Baker openly wondered if his right-hander was injured and said "we're going to get him checked out." When asked a few moments later, it was news to Arroyo and there seemed to be a disconnect. On Monday, Arroyo reiterated that he was feeling fine before going to see Baker. "I'm not going to the doctor," Arroyo said. "Why would I go when I feel the best I've felt in six years? I have no idea about anything except that my body feels great and I'm getting beat, fair and square. No excuses. You look at the board my last two starts -- my velocity is much better than it had been." Arroyo is 1-4 with an 8.63 ERA in seven starts this season. Baker seemed satisfied with the explanation that his pitcher his healthy and didn't mean to start a controversy. "He wanted to hear it out of my mouth," Baker said. "I said, 'Bronson, I was searching. I really didn't know what else to put my finger on. When you don't know, you guys [in the media] are asking questions, 'I don't know' isn't a very good answer. The second or third time in a row, you start searching. "I guess it's been a while since he's been the original Bronson, right? I just told him we have to work a little harder. Hard work solves a lot of problems. We've been working hard but we have to work harder, it's simple." Since Arroyo was 9-3 through his first 15 starts and became an All-Star in 2006, he's posted a 15-27 record. Last season, he was 9-15 with a 4.23 ERA in 34 starts and his first 2007 victory didn't come until May 1. However, he was more often a victim of poor run support and blown saves and not his own undoing. So far, Arroyo has finished six innings once, and that was in his lone victory on April 28 at St. Louis. Normally an innings eater who has worked 205 or more innings the past three seasons, there has been no explanation for what's going wrong this year. Arroyo didn't believe there had to be a reason. "You get beat, you get beat, you get beat and you only look good one time out of six and people start saying 'There's something wrong with him,'" Arroyo said. "That's the way baseball is. People are always looking to put their finger on something why it's not getting done. The truth of it is there's guys on the other side getting paid as much money as me, playing as many years as I have, working just as hard as me to try and beat me."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.