CINCINNATI -- Bronson Arroyo was in town Wednesday. He took Reds clubhouse guys, Rick Stowe and Josh Stewart, to lunch at the Holy Grail.
But this visit wasn’t just a social one.
Arroyo, a free agent, is interested returning to the Reds. Arroyo said he had breakfast recently with Reds manager Bryan Price and the two talked about Arroyo returning.
“I’d love to come back here,” Arroyo said. “I’m so comfortable here.”
Arroyo, 38, missed all of last season after having Tommy John surgery midway through the 2014 season.
For the Reds to be interested, Arroyo has to be physically able to compete.
“He’s got to show he’s healthy,” Reds general manager Dick Williams said. “Bronson’s a great clubhouse guy. But he hasn’t thrown in almost two years. We’ve got to find out if he’s healthy before we can seriously consider it.”
Even though he didn’t pitch last season, he was traded twice — from Arizona to Atlanta on June 20 and from Atlanta to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 30 — in deals to move his contract.
He finished the year in the Instructional League in Arizona for the Dodgers on Oct. 10. He became a free agent when the Dodgers turned down his $11 million option and paid a $4.5 million buyout instead.
Arroyo says he’s fully healthy.
“My elbow finally started feeling 100 percent five days ago,” he said. “There was a little spot in there. The scar tissue finally broke up or something.”
Arroyo is headed back to his home in Brooksville, Fla. He expects to begin throwing again on Dec. 1.
“I’m going to have a normal offseason as far as baseball,” he said.
Arroyo went 7-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 2013 for the Diamondbacks before his elbow injury. He went 105-94 with a 4.08 ERA in his eight seasons with the Reds (2006-13). He pitched at least 200 innings in seven of those eight years and threw 199 the other year.
Arroyo knows he’s looking at an incentive-heavy contract and that the Reds are probably going to offer considerably less than contenders would. But given the Reds’ situation, i.e. rebuilding, they could afford to be more patient with Arroyo early.
If the Reds do sign Arroyo, it’s as much for his intellect and character as it is for his arm. He’s a cerebral pitcher who got by on average stuff by outthinking hitters. He also works as hard and enjoys the game as much as anyone in baseball. That could rub off on the Reds’ young starting pitchers.
“Price thinks I could help in the clubhouse,” Arroyo said.