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03/12/12 8:00 PM ET

Arroyo struggles in start against Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo said there was only one way to describe his Cactus League start against the Cubs on Monday at HoHoKam Park.

"If it was the regular season, that would have been terrible," Arroyo said. "That was 45 pitches in two innings. I don't know how many batters I faced."

When he was told 12, Arroyo continued: "There you go. I faced 12 batters and they probably squared a good six balls off of me. The others they didn't square up were base hits, and the umpire gave me a strike three that wasn't even a strike. That's not a good outing."

Of those 12 batters Arroyo faced, eight reached safely -- six via base hits and the other two by way of walks. Oh yes, he allowed four runs and had the one strikeout, the questionable third-strike call coming with none out, a run in and a runner on first in the second inning against Cubs second baseman Junior Lake.

Still, Arroyo, 35 and a nine-year Major League veteran, doesn't have much to worry about -- even if he has an 0-2 record with a 9.00 ERA to show for his two spring starts. At least this year, he's healthy. Last year, he left camp in a weakened state fighting Valley Fever, even though he pitched all season.

"It was a struggle out there, for sure. Even physically, I didn't feel lively," Arroyo said about the Monday outing. "Sometimes, there's uneasiness about how you feel when you go into a start. Sometimes, you wake up and feel great. Everything clicks. That doesn't mean you're going to have a good outing.

"That's what's so great about Spring Training. I can stand out on the mound and not feel like the ship has sunk. They don't count. ... I made the club a few years ago. It's nice to know you're out there in a bad situation, but it's not going to be on the back of your baseball card forever."

Baker happy to beat Cubs whenever he can

MESA, Ariz. -- It has been six years since Dusty Baker managed the Cubs, but some things never cycle out of a person's system.

"I don't like losing to them," Baker told the local Cincinnati media before Monday's game between the Reds and Cubs in his clubhouse office at HoHoKam Park. "I don't like to lose to anybody, but especially to the clubs I've [managed] before."

Specifically then, the Giants and Cubs.

"Not the Giants as much, but more the Cubs," Baker said. "I was treated better in San Francisco. I got treated pretty good by some people in Chicago. I was treated pretty poorly by a lot of people there. But that's OK, it's all good. It all leads to where you are now, and it makes you better and stronger. At the time, things seemed terrible. But I'm much stronger now than I was then."

To illustrate how much of a presence Baker still is in Chicago, he did separate interview sessions on Monday -- the other in the Reds' dugout with the Windy City media. Consider that it has been six years, three managers, two general managers and an ownership change since the last of his Cubs days.

Baker was decidedly much more subdued in his Chicago session. The Chicago scribes were most interested in any advice he might have for new manager Dale Sveum.

"I can't tell him anything," Baker said about the new leader of the Reds' National League Central foes. "We're trying to beat him. I like him, but we're still competitors. The better they do, the harder it makes it on us. I've got a Reds uniform on now, not a blue one. I wish him well, but just not against us."

With the Reds media, Baker noted that since he had left San Francisco of his own volition after the Giants lost the 2002 World Series and was dismissed by the Cubs, he's 1-1. Currently, he's in the final year of his contract to manage the Reds.

Whether he'll be back is still very much up in the air.

"Let's see what the score is at the end of the year," Baker said. "I'm 1-1. I am. This year, it's my decision, as well as a [Reds] ownership decision. It depends whether I'm asked back. It depends on my feelings. You get to that certain point in your life. We'll see at the end of the year or before it, depending on how things go. Otherwise, life is good. Life is very good."

Marshall's outing leaves Baker impressed

MESA, Ariz. -- If there was something positive to take out of an 8-6 Cactus League loss to the Cubs on Monday at HoHoKam Park, Reds manager Dusty Baker said it was the one inning of relief by left-hander Sean Marshall.

"That's the best he's looked," said Baker, who also had Marshall with him in 2006 when both were with the Cubs.

Pitching in the fourth inning, Marshall faced three batters, striking out two of them and picking the other off first base after he reached on a fielding error. This type of efficiency is why the Reds paid Marshall $16.5 million over three years after obtaining him from the Cubs in a four-player trade on Dec. 23.

As Baker is putting together the back end of his bullpen in front of new closer Ryan Madsen, Marshall is going to be an integral part.

"He'll be right there," Baker said after Marshall's third appearance of the spring. "This guy is one of the best there is. He's really tough against lefties, but he also gets righties out. He'll be one of the setup guys. I have good choices out there at the end of the game. We have some options. We haven't determined how we're going yet."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.