Posting an ERA above 17 in three outings, it is clear that something is wrong with Bronson Arroyo this spring. Although they are not yet panicking, the Red Sox thought it would be a good idea to get Arroyo some innings in a less challenging environment, in order to boost his confidence. That’s when Theo Epstein arranged for Arroyo to throw 30 pitches against the Serpents, a Florida Little League team featuring youngsters between the ages of 9 and 12.
The results, however, were disastrous. Arroyo, pitching for the rival Hawks, did not make it out of the first inning, giving 5 runs on 9 hits. Things got off to a bad start when 10-year-old Bobby “Half-Pint” Smith hit a towering homerun—he had previously never made contact with a ball and batted lead-off only because he his just over 4 feet tall and walks every time—and got worse as the feisty Serpents made solid contact on nearly every pitch.
“He’s pretty easy to hit because you know the curve ball is coming,” said Timmy “Chicken Legs” Alton, who hit a scorching two-run double. “It was easy to pick up the rotation on it. When he couldn’t get that pitch over, we just sat on his fastball and blasted the guy.”
“They were tough,” Arroyo said of the Serpents, who had a 4-7 record coming into the game. “The most embarrassing part of the experience was when their pitcher came over after the game and gave me some pointers. Actually, though, I think his advice might help.”
“Bronson had a rough outing,” Terry Francona said, “but I thought he threw the ball real well. He just needs to spot the curve. Hey, give the Serpents credit, they were tough. And how about that Half Pint Smith? Billy Beane and Theo are already trying to get the kid under contract."