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Injured Arroyo enjoying final ride with Reds

Veteran righty making most of experience while sidelined
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- This is it for Bronson Arroyo. His right arm and elbow are shot. Arroyo is on the Reds' 60-day disabled list, and he figures he's thrown the last active pitch of his 16-year Major League career.

After the season, Arroyo told MLB.com this week at Yankee Stadium, he will ride off into the sunset and enjoy life.

NEW YORK -- This is it for Bronson Arroyo. His right arm and elbow are shot. Arroyo is on the Reds' 60-day disabled list, and he figures he's thrown the last active pitch of his 16-year Major League career.

After the season, Arroyo told MLB.com this week at Yankee Stadium, he will ride off into the sunset and enjoy life.

"I've been thinking about this game for about 35 years hardcore," Arroyo said. "I just need to get on with life and see what else is out there. Just hang with some people until they all get too old and sick."

Meanwhile, the man named Bronson will spend the remainder of the season traveling and hanging out with the Reds, playing his guitar in the clubhouse, spreading his wit and wisdom, acting as a defacto coach for manager Bryan Price.

To say that's unusual for a player on the 60-day DL to do such things is an understatement. But Arroyo is an unusual player.

Video: CIN@SF: Arroyo K's Belt swinging in the 5th

"We all love Bronson," Price said. "If he's not a favorite teammate of all these guys then he's a close second."

That begs the question. Does the 40-year-old with 148 wins and a 4.08 ERA have any designs of acting as a pitching coach in the near future?

"If I was going to live to 400, yeah," Arroyo said. "Since I think I'm going to make it to only 120, I think I have other things to do. But you never know, I can keep doing things for two, three, four years and find myself not fulfilled. So, I don't want to ever rule it out."

As for remaining with the team, Arroyo is just not ready right now to leave behind the life of a Major League ballplayer.

Thus, Price is utilizing him.

"I'm absolutely using him and he knows I'm using him," Price said. "He likes being around this team and being a part of it, and he's a very big part of it, working with the young guys and getting them accustomed to clubhouse culture and how to treat people and how to prepare like professionals."

At this point, Arroyo doesn't have much of a choice. He started for the final time on June 18 at Cincinnati against the Dodgers, allowing five runs on seven hits in three innings, and he knew he had pitched his last.

Video: CHC@CIN: Arroyo fans seven over six solid innings

Arroyo's arm was just one aching mess.

"I had a cortisone shot in the shoulder and it lasted only two weeks," Arroyo said. "I was having too much pain in there. My velocity was going down. I was already working with not a whole lot, not getting hitters out."

Eight days later, Arroyo was placed on the DL with a right shoulder strain, but it might has well have been listed as a total body strain. He had had nothing left. Arroyo said he can't soft toss the ball now for more than 60 feet without feeling some pain.

Arroyo knew it was the end of blessed career. He pitched three seasons for the Red Sox and had 10 wins in 29 starts for the 2004 team that won the World Series and broke the curse.

Video: 2004ALCS Gm6: A-Rod slaps ball from Arroyo's glove

Arroyo then had eight productive seasons with the Reds, before signing as a free agent with the D-backs in 2014. Right then, the man who's made 383 starts and tossed 2,435 2/3 innings began to break down. He had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery and a 40-percent tear of his rotator cuff repaired. Arroyo tried to rehab and come back with the Braves, Dodgers and Nationals, finally re-signing in Cincinnati this past February.

All told, Arroyo had missed two full seasons because of the injuries.

Still, baseball wasn't out of Arroyo's system. He had stem cells shot into the elbow and a cortisone shot in his shoulder during Spring Training. Both gave him relief. He decided to try it again.

"That took me all the way into May," Arroyo said. "It lasted a good four months. I figured if I got one more [cortisone shot] that would've taken me to the end of the season. If that would have happened, then I might have done the stem cells in the shoulder and tried for one more year. But my arm is just not going to physically pony it up any more."

Video: SF@CIN: Arroyo strikes out Panik swinging in the 5th

As you might have guessed, Arroyo is one of baseball's great offbeat characters. He sings and plays guitar in a band often covering Pearl Jam songs, channeling Eddie Vedder on cuts such as "Even Flow" and "Alive."

And make no mistake, despite the near end to his baseball life, Arroyo is very much alive. In the future, fans may never know where to find him.

"I want to hang out with humans, the ones I want to be with and if that'll entail setting up outside Fenway Park with four or five guys sometime, so be it," Arroyo said. "People can walk by and double take it, saying, 'I think that's Bronson Arroyo on guitar over there.'

"Camp out in Yellowstone with my friends. Just have some really good peaceful times with people you really want to be around."

In the meantime, Arroyo is content to hang around with his teammates.

"When you're winding it down, it's hard to sit at home watching the boys grinding it out in the dugout," Arroyo said. "I try to bring some morale and a little bit of insight into a few things. They get the last bits of me before I exit the game and maybe never return."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.