By HAL McCOY
The pitching mound continues to be a disaster area, a black hole and a land mine for the Cincinnati Reds.
The latest victim on that little island in the middle of a baseball field is 40-year-old Bronson Arroyo.
And it was a freak accident. He forgot to duck. He was hit in the face by a throw from catcher Devin Mesoraco in the second inning of a game in Goodyear, Ariz., against a Texas Rangers split squad, a game that ended in a 3-3 tie.
ARROYO WAS FORCED TO leave the game, but was not seriously injured.
With two outs in the second inning, Arroyo walked Drew Robinson. When Arroyo delivered a pitch to Andy Ibanez, Robinson broke for second on a steal attempt. Catcher Mesoraco’s throw hit Arroyo flush in the face. He returned to the mound but left the game after conferring with a team trainer.
It was reported by MLB.com that Arroyo did not undergo a concussion protocol and he left the stadium to return to the Reds complex to do some throwing.
Arroyo’s day began on a solid note with a strikeout and he had two outs with nobody on. Then Ryan Rua singled and Jody Gallo homered for a 2-0 lead.
Arroyo retired the first two in the second before his walk to Robinson and the throw that struck him.
THE REDS SCORED A RUN off Texas ace Yu Darvish in the second without a hit – a walk, a hit by pitch and an error.
Darvish pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up one earned run and two hits and struck six.
One of the hits was a Mesoraco doubled in the third inning for his first hit of the spring and then he left the game.
SAL ROMANO ENTERED THE game in the fourth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout, but gave up a run in the fifth.
With two outs, one a strikeout, Romano gave up an infield single to Andy Ibanez, a stolen base and a run-scoring single Carlos Gomez to make it 3-1.
Other than that two-batter hiccup, Romano was once again peerless and he continues to state a strong case for inclusion in the Reds rotation.
He pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up one run, three hits, walked one and struck out three and his spring earned run average is 1.17.
Mesoraco’s double was the only hit off Darvish until the fifth when the Reds scored a run and Darvish left with two outs.
Tony Renda walked and stole second. Billy Hamilton, who struck out his first two at bats, singled home Renda. Darvish hit Stuart Turner with a pitch and when Joey Votto lined out for the second out Darvish was removed. Ryne Slack replaced him and with two on and two out Ryan Raburn popped up to leave the Reds down, 3-2.
THE REDS SCORED THE tying run in the bottom of the ninth, again without benefit of a hit. Two throwing errors, the last with two outs in the ninth by pitcher Wesley Wright, enabled the tying run to score.
The game ended in a tie by mutual agreement because the Rangers were out of pitchers.
The Reds collected only three hits, the double by Mesoraco, the run-scoring single by Billy Hamilton and a late-game double by Phillip Ervin.