Three weeks remain before Opening Night at Chase Field, which is game three of the regular season for the Dbacks due to the team’s trip down under. The 20 days between now and March 31st might not be enough time for veteran starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo to be ready for his start that week. Bronson and the Dbacks were hoping for him to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and then pitch in a game later in the week. Dbacks manager Kirk Gibson commented on the potential chance for Arroyo to start the season in the rotation saying that its possible. That doesn’t sound very convincing to me. I am so glad that the Dbacks have so much stating pitching depth. They have guys like Archie Bradley, Randall Delgado who are more than capable of starting if they have to.
Arroyo has been troubled by a stiff back for quite some time. It first flared up just prior to what would have been his second start for the Diamondbacks on March 4. He was scratched from his scheduled start last Tuesday and had an MRI on Wednesday that reveled a bulging disk. Its the same disk that bothered him in 2008 and 2011 which is obviously cause for concern for the Dbacks organization. Maybe age and injury are catching up to Arroyo. The Dbacks were banking on 200 innings and 10 plus wins from the always reliable Arroyo but now even that is in question. Arroyo was brought in to add depth and now maybe the depth the team has other than Arroyo will save the team for the first part of the season.
Arryo’s plans of starting in a game at the end of the week might not happen after all. He received an epidural and than played catch for a third day in a row Monday but saw little improvement, and now the Dbacks are planning to slow him down according to Gibson who spoke with Arizona Sports.com: “We’re probably considering slowing him down,” Gibson said. “I don’t want to push him early. We’re looking for the longevity of when he gets going that he keeps going.” Arroyo has never missed a regular season start and signed a two year contract with Arizona on February 7th.
Gibby talked about the process behind the Arroyo situation: “Our thought process is, let’s keep the pressure off him,” Gibson said. “He’s felt bad before and not been on the DL, so we know his make-up and his personality. He’d do almost anything to avoid that. That’s not really how we want him to approach it at this point in the season. If it was September, maybe, but it’s early in the season. Again, we want to get him right and get him throwing for the remainder and the duration.”
The Dbacks dont want to push their luck with Arroyo so if he has to go on the D.L then he has to. That just means that guys like Archie Bradley, Josh Collmenter, or Randall Delgado will have to step it up. Keep in mind the Snakes wont need a number 5 starter until April 4th at the Rockies. If Arroyo is not ready to go I would go with Bradley. He has been lighting it up this spring and you might as well see what happens. He has been getting big league hitters out with ease. Collmenter should stay in his role and Delgado is moving to the bullpen and needs to get accumulated to that role. Long term if Arroyo’s health becomes an issue than I wonder if the Dbacks made to big of a commitment.