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Arroyo finally back to feeling healthy

After two surgeries, 40-year-old says he's comfortable on mound
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo came away winless for his fifth-straight start during Friday's 3-2 win over the Braves in 10 innings, but that wasn't the takeaway he cared about. Besides his team winning, the 40-year-old right-hander was more enthusiastic about how he felt.

"It's taken until last night for me to feel free and easy on the mound all year," Arroyo said on Saturday. "You're either grinding against pain, or you're grinding against things you want your body to do that you've slowly slid away from for whatever reason. Mechanically you change over time and don't realize it. It's not that easy to get back to where you used to be."

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CINCINNATI -- Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo came away winless for his fifth-straight start during Friday's 3-2 win over the Braves in 10 innings, but that wasn't the takeaway he cared about. Besides his team winning, the 40-year-old right-hander was more enthusiastic about how he felt.

"It's taken until last night for me to feel free and easy on the mound all year," Arroyo said on Saturday. "You're either grinding against pain, or you're grinding against things you want your body to do that you've slowly slid away from for whatever reason. Mechanically you change over time and don't realize it. It's not that easy to get back to where you used to be."

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Arroyo pitched six innings with two earned runs, seven hits, one intentional walk and two strikeouts. The hardest-hit ball against him was Dansby Swanson's solo homer inside the left-field foul pole in the fifth inning that made it a 2-0 game for Atlanta.

According to Statcast™, the Braves did not hit Arroyo hard overall as they averaged an exit velocity of 76.4 mph on all of his 93 pitches in the game.

"It was the first time I've felt normal in three years," Arroyo said. "For a guy like myself, where feel and being so consistent with health was usually so easy for me in my career, and then having two surgeries, you just don't realize how many details you actually have to put together to make that puzzle work again."

Video: ATL@CIN: Arroyo fans Phillips swinging in the 1st

Arroyo had Tommy John surgery on his elbow, followed by shoulder surgery in 2014 while with Arizona. He spent 2 1/2 years out of the Major Leagues until earning a spot as a non-roster invite with the Reds and signing a contract worth the league minimum upon making the club.

It's been a bumpy comeback as Arroyo is 3-4 with a 6.24 ERA in 11 starts. He leads the Majors with 19 homers allowed, including 13 in his last six starts -- all solo shots.

Arroyo has credited manager Bryan Price for being patient and in his corner. There are times when Arroyo felt he had everything figured out with his pitching issues and other times when he felt like he couldn't get over the hump and have a successful comeback.

"He gives me a lot of rope. I'm super appreciative of the opportunity. I don't think I would get that anywhere else probably," Arroyo said of Price. "A lot of times, I will get to a certain place and think, 'We're good.' Then you realize there's a little room for growth, whether it's getting the arm feeling a little better, finding your feel in the game or your stamina. [Price] said from Day 1, 'There's a real good chance you'll probably be better next year than you are this year. I just want to ride this wave with you and try to give you that opportunity.'"

Worth noting

• Lefty pitcher Brandon Finnegan (left teres major strain near shoulder) is scheduled to throw two innings in an extended spring game on Tuesday in Arizona. It's possible Finnegan could begin a rehab assignment after that outing.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Bronson Arroyo