PHOENIX -- During his previous spring start on Sunday vs. the Rangers, Bronson Arroyo thought his pitching hand might have been broken on a line drive hit by David Murphy. On Friday, there was no problem at all facing the D-backs.
Arroyo threw 99 pitches over six innings while allowing one run and seven hits with no walks and one strikeout. He gave up a Jason Kubel leadoff homer in the bottom of the fifth.
"I don't feel it when I'm throwing," Arroyo said. "I still have a big lump and it's really sore to the touch, but it doesn't bother me, throwing-wise. It's still probably going to be sore when I throw in my first outing. It's going to take a while to get the bruising out of there, but I don't feel it at doing anything on the field."
After being struck on his hand by Murphy, Arroyo immediately went for X-rays that came back negative. He was remarkably feeling good the following day.
In five starts this spring, totaling 23 innings, Arroyo posted a 3.13 ERA and gave up 30 hits and three walks with six strikeouts. His first regular season start is expected to be on Thursday vs. the Angels.
"I've had a good spring, for me," Arroyo said. "I had really great command, good movement on a lot of pitches. I was able to work on some stuff. This doesn't guarantee you anything, but this is as comfortable as I've ever felt on a big league field for an extended period of time. You can't really ask for more than that coming out of Spring Training."
Said Reds manager Dusty Baker: "He's thrown the ball well all spring. I've never seen him so sharp this soon."
Reds planning final roster cuts Saturday
PHOENIX -- The Reds spring roster still remained heavy with 34 players on Friday, which means plenty of trimming must be done to reach the 25-man limit before Opening Day on Monday.
Reds manager Dusty Baker said he hoped to have the final decisions revealed by Saturday.
"Probably, there's a good chance," Baker said Friday, before the Reds played the D-backs in an exhibition at Chase Field. "There are few things that have to be ironed out first. That's why it's not final."
The remaining roster battles are down to the final bullpen spots and the last bench spot, aka "the 25th man."
Roster locks for the bullpen include closer Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall and Sam LeCure. The remaining three spots have five contenders: Jose Arredondo, J.J. Hoover, Manny Parra, Logan Ondrusek and Alfredo Simon.
With a 1.80 ERA, two walks and 19 strikeouts in 10 appearances, Hoover seems to be a good bet to make the team. Arredondo and Simon are both out of options and Parra, who was signed to a one-year, $1 million contract in January, has enough big league service time that he must approve being optioned to the Minors.
For the bench spot, Jason Donald is out of options while Cesar Izturis and Emmanuel Burriss are non-roster players. For either Izturis or Burriss to make the team, the club would have to clear space on the 40-man roster first.
One decision is all but clear, at least. Reliever Nick Masset, who has yet to work off of a mound this spring while he rehabilitates from right shoulder surgery, is sure to begin the season on the disabled list.
Reds release catcher Olivo
PHOENIX -- The Reds released catcher Miguel Olivo, who signed a big league contract with the Marlins on Friday.
Olivo, 34, was signed by the Reds in January to a Minor League contract and invited to Spring Training as a non-roster player. He batted .167 in 21 games and once he didn't make the team, had a clause in his contract that he had to be offered a $100,000 retention bonus by Tuesday to report to Triple-A.
Instead, Olivo asked to be released and found a job with the Marlins as their backup catcher.
Mesoraco gets rare pairing with Arroyo
PHOENIX -- It wasn't normal to see Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco behind the plate on Friday as Bronson Arroyo started in his final spring tune-up. Arroyo always has primary catcher Ryan Hanigan as his battery mate during the regular season.
"It's just his turn. Hani caught yesterday," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Down here in spring, I like to go every other day so they don't go more than a couple of days without playing.
Mesoraco, who will likely start two games and have three off each time through the rotation during the season, can also stay sharp like other reserve players.
"Your extra guys play every day, almost. Then when the season starts, they don't play as much," Baker said. "That's why when the season starts, you have to get them in there pretty early, but without taking away the reps from your starting team or else they will lose whatever sharpness they had."