CINCINNATI – Bronson Arroyo appears to be cleared to join the Reds in spring training in an attempt to restart his pitching career at age 40.
Arroyo has passed his physical and reached a minor-league deal with an invitation to Goodyear, Arizona, according to media reports. Reds pitchers and catchers are due to report Feb. 13.
The last step for the former fan favorite is to sign the deal. The Reds haven't announced Arroyo's return at this point.
Arroyo told WCPO contributor and long-time Reds reporter John Fay on Wednesday that he's eager to test his surgically repaired elbow and try to win the vacant fifth spot in the starting rotation.
"I'm finally throwing pain-free for the first time honestly since I had surgery," said Arroyo.
Arroyo, who will be 40 on Feb. 24, has not pitched in the majors since 2014. He had Tommy John surgery and then shoulder surgery, then tried to come back with the Washington Nationals last year without success.
But he has made significant progress in the last few months, Arroyo said.
"It took stem cells getting pulled out of my pelvis in August by Dr. (Jim) Andrews and shot in my elbow. The Nationals really afforded me the opportunity to stay in Rookie League all year and try to work out the kinks and figure out how much stress my arm could take.
"It took four months, but finally I feel like I can push myself out the mound to 100 percent and I might survive."
The right-hander was a workhorse of the Reds staff from 2006 to 2013. He went 105-95 with a 4.05 ERA over eight years and threw 200 innings in seven of those eight years. He threw 199 the other year.
"If my arm doesn’t hurt, I feel like I can throw 200 innings like I always have," Arroyo said.
"If I can throw pain-free at even 84 to 86 miles an hour, I feel like I can be valuable as a starting pitcher in the league. But I don’t know if it’s going to do that.
"Hopefully, that’s what this spring training is going to do. It’s going let me know if this is the end of line or maybe I just needed a little longer to heal up because of the amount of innings I threw in my career and my age and also I had two surgeries. It’s kind of unprecedented for a guy to have the elbow and the shoulder done at age 37 after 3,000 professional innings."