Bronson Arroyo aims to return Friday from back injury

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Bronson Arroyo was diagnosed last week with a bulging disk in his back, which threatened to steer him to his first-ever 15-day disabled list stint. But recent workouts have it looking like a minor blip.

According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the veteran right-hander felt “way better” Sunday in Diamondbacks camp after testing his back with a game of catch on Saturday afternoon. He hopes to return to Cactus League action this coming Friday.

Arroyo, who signed a two-year, $23.5 million free agent contract with the Diamondbacks in early February, allowed one earned run over three steady innings two weeks ago in his Cactus League debut.

The 37-year-old had a 3.79 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 202 innings last season with the Reds.

Patrick Corbin and Trevor Cahill are starting for the Diamondbacks in Australia.

The Angels were the first team to use up all of their mound visits

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Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.

Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.

At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.