If this baseball thing doesn’t work out, perhaps Spencer Arroyo can open a hat store.
The baseball journey of the East Union High graduate has taken him to 10 different teams in three different organizations since drafted by Philadelphia in the 31st round of the 2008 draft after two solid seasons at Modesto Junior College.
Arroyo, whose contract was purchased by Arizona from the Chicago White Sox on March 27, will be the starting pitcher Tuesday night for Visalia against the Modesto Nuts at John Thurman Field. Colorado Rockies righty Jhoulys Chacin will be starting for Modesto in a rehab assignment.
“It’s definately been a long journey, and primarily on the East Coast, so it’s nice to be out here to get a chance to play in front of friends and family,” said Arroyo, who pitched Thursday in Stockton. “It’s all been fun.”
Arroyo, 25, had a stellar freshman season at MJC in 2007, going 7-1 with a 3.72 ERA. He signed a letter of intent that fall to play at the University of California, but after going 4-2, 2.22 with MJC in 2008, he decided to sign with the Phillies.
“That was a tough decision at the time, but a very fun process,” Arroyo said. “Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything about that decision.”
Arroyo’s career never really got going in two seasons with the Phillies, and in 2010 he found himself starting over in rookie ball in the White Sox organization. After going 7-2, 2.49 in Bristol in 2010, he won 10 games in Class A ball in 2011, moved to Double-A in 2012 and finished the 2013 season in Triple-A Charlotte.
Then, suddenly, Arroyo found himself in a new organization, once again starting over.
“Every time you go to a different organization it’s a new opportunity,” Arroyo said. “That’s the best way to look at it. They always say that every time you take the field you’re playing for the team you’re on as well as the 29 other organizations.
“I’m hoping to get back to higher levels, the places I’ve already been. But when you go to a new organization you start where they put you and as long as you’re still wearing a uniform you have a chance. You just have to go out and perform and let your performance speak for itself. You can’t start worrying about why you’re not playing at a higher level, because you can’t control that.”
This won’t be Arroyo’s first trip to Thurman Field. He played here in exhibition games against the Nuts while at MJC, and also came here in 2006 to watch big brother Jack Arroyo – also an East Union grad – play for Inland Empire, then an affiliate of Seattle. Jack Arroyo finished that 2006 season in Triple A Tacoma and then was out of baseball.
Spencer Arroyo is expecting somewhere between 20 and 30 family and friends in the ballpark Tuesday to support him. So that will help the gate, as will having Chacin as his mound opposition.
“Honestly I don’t think about that,” Arroyo said. “I have to think about my game and what I need to do to give us a chance to win.”
Chacin has been on the Colorado disabled list since the end of spring training with a sore shoulder. If he experiences no pain after Tuesday’s start, he’ll pitch again for the Nuts on Friday in Lake Elsinore.