Arroyo takes pride in durability, playing through pain
Right-hander misses start for first time in career, but doesn't expect to miss another
PHOENIX -- Bronson Arroyo's streak of never missing a Spring Training start was snapped Monday when a bulging disc forced him to be scratched.
Arroyo's streak of never missing a regular season start is alive and the right-hander has no desire to see it end.
"I've made every start in my whole career, man," Arroyo said. "I'll find a way to make it out there on Day Five. I've made every one of my big league starts and it wasn't because I felt good every time. You find ways to get out there and you hope things don't come up that are this drastic to where it actually shuts you down."
Keep in mind that in order to keep his streak alive, Arroyo pitched with Valley Fever and mononucleosis during Spring Training in 2011.
"And they said I had whooping cough," Arroyo said with a laugh.
However when he was running Sunday the pain in his back became severe and he knew there was a problem.
"I was running some sprints and it locked me up really bad," Arroyo said. "About as good as I've ever been locked up, really. I made all my starts through Valley Fever and mono that spring, but I couldn't have pitched Tuesday. I couldn't pick my left leg up and I couldn't bend over. I wouldn't have been able to get dressed for the game."
This is not the first time that Arroyo has had an issue with his back, so he has a good idea of what to expect.
In fact, according to an MRI he had Tuesday it appears to be the exact same disc that gave him a problem in 2008 and 2011. As he did both of those times, Arroyo had an epidural shot to treat it.
As happened in the past, he noticed a dramatic improvement the next day and by Friday he was feeling much better.
"I've had to pitch with it as stiff as it is today at least a couple of times during the season," Arroyo said. "I think I'll play catch tomorrow and start slowly getting right back at it. Get my work in and get my arm in shape."
If he's able to get back on the mound in the next week he would still have time to get in three to four starts in before he would need to start in the regular season rotation and that should be enough for him to get ready.
"I don't have a timetable for when he's going to get on the mound, but I'm pretty encouraged by it right now," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "I think if we get three starts in he'll probably be OK, but we'll play it by ear. We know he doesn't want to go on the DL so we'll try and avoid that, but if he has to, he has to."
Since becoming exclusively a starter in 2005, Arroyo has failed to pitch at least 200 innings just once and that was 2011 when he logged 199.
Going into his final start that year he needed a complete game to get to 200 and he nearly got there.
"So then I go out and throw eight against the Mets in New York," Arroyo said. "And we're losing by one run and my at-bat comes up in the top of the ninth so they have to pinch-hit for me and we tie the game and win it in the 13th, but I didn't get the last few outs. I was lined up for one more, had the game been tied, but I couldn't do it. We had to pinch-hit with [Edgar Renteria] and that's why I fell short."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.