Arroyo Impressive in Final Spring Appearance

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - Bronson Arroyo approached his final spring
game as if it mattered, then went out and pitched like it Thursday,
throwing seven shutout innings during the Cincinnati Reds' 5-1
victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Arroyo finished his solid spring training by giving up only
three hits in seven innings. He didn't walk a batter, and threw 65
strikes out of his 89 pitches.
Facing an American League team, he was able to show his stuff.
"It's a team I don't have to see during the season, so I could
pitch like it was the first game of the season and just throw 100
percent," said Arroyo, who gave up only 12 hits and two walks in
19 innings this spring. "This is probably the best I've ever felt
in spring by far. My body's where it needs to be, my stuff's there,
I feel strong."
Manager Dusty Baker raved about the way his No. 2 starter threw
strikes with every type of pitch.
"Oh, man, he really had it going," Baker said. "He had all
his pitches going. That's midseason form right there. His breaking
ball was working, he had good location on his fastball. He threw
the ball great."
Ken Griffey Jr. hit his second homer of spring training, a
two-run shot off reliever Jesse Crain in the sixth inning.
Right-hander Nick Blackburn gave up three hits and one run in
five innings, an encouraging showing for a Minnesota rotation that
might need him.
The Twins aren't sure whether left-hander Nelson Liriano, who
missed last season after elbow surgery, will be on the roster to
open the season. Blackburn is the likely replacement if Liriano
isn't ready.
The club will make a decision after it sees how Liriano looks in
his start Friday against Pittsburgh.
"Once we get past tomorrow, we're going to weigh all those
things," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We like (Blackburn's) arm.
That's why we have him in camp. We're trying to get them ready no
matter where they pitch."
Center fielder Carlos Gomez was a late scratch from the Twins
lineup because of a sore left hamstring. Gomez left a 4-2 win over
Tampa Bay on Wednesday because the hamstring was bothering him.
Notes: Cincinnati's David Ross caught seven innings and went
0-for-2 with a walk. Ross played in his first major league game
Wednesday night after missing most of spring training with back
spasms. ... OF Ryan Freel stayed home on Thursday, a day after he
came down with a virus making the rounds in the Reds clubhouse. ...
With their rotation set, the Reds will use a batch of relievers in
their game Friday at Tampa Bay. Closer Francisco Cordero will
start, followed by setup man David Weathers and others. ...
Reliever Todd Coffey pitched a perfect ninth. The right-hander has
allowed only one hit and no runs in 8 1-3 innings this spring. ...
The Reds reassigned infielder Andy Green to their minor league camp
after the game.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)