Boston’s Bronson Arroyo, faced with the possibility of not being part of the Red Sox starting rotation, talks about pitching inside with the Globe’s Chris Snow. Predictably, the subject comes around to Alex Rodriguez.
Obviously I’d rather be in the rotation than pitch out of the pen, but I’ll do whatever they want me to do,” said Arroyo, who received a raise this season from $332,500 to $1.85 million. “I’ve been in that situation it seems every spring training of my career. Nothing is guaranteed.”
This spring, Arroyo said, he will focus on pitching inside with results. He hit 20 batters last season, tying Cubs righthander Carlos Zambrano for the major league lead.
“It’s going to be the same exact scenario this year,” Arroyo said. “I’m going to have to get it in, and I may hit 30 guys. I can’t change my game plan. If not, they’ll hit me all around the ballpark.
“I think command of the inner half of the plate and the fastball against righthanded hitters is going to be huge for me. If I can do that and keep them honest off my breaking ball, that should allow me to pitch deeper into some games.”
Pitching inside, of course, is what incited A-Rod to yap at Arroyo, then get into it with Jason Varitek, last July 24.
“I threw an 0-0 fastball on the outer half,” Arroyo explained. “He fouled it off, took a good swing at it. And then I threw him a four-seamer in and missed pretty good, backed him up a little bit. And then I tried to double up in there [with a sinker] and try to get a ground ball to third or short.
“It just ran into his elbow. I think he made a comment afterward that I never double up on righties, and I hadn’t in a while, which was true. And that’s why it seemed a little off. But a guy like him, he’s a little different. There’s not a lot of guys who can hit the ball 400 feet to right-center on a good fastball away.”
Arroyo, who will be linked to Rodriguez probably as long as he pitches, said he doesn’t think there will be issues between the two.
“As long as I don’t hit him with a four-seamer in the ribs his first AB, I think everything will be fine,” Arroyo said. “If I do, I definitely think he’ll think I was throwing at him on purpose on July 24 and we’ll probably have problems.