Arroyo was on the bench on Tuesday, as he is on the disabled list with a sprained UCL. Mike Bolsinger, who was called up to take Arroyo's place, got the start and was nearly hit by a curveball that came toward him while he tried to bunt.
"It was just a simple case of a couple of our guys getting thumped really hard," Arroyo said. "Sometimes, even if it's something not on purpose, you just thump people back."
Arroyo said that the situation gets amplified when high-profile players, such as Ryan Braun, are hit, as was the case on Tuesday.
"When I played in Boston, if Manny [Ramirez] or [David] Ortiz got hit, it didn't matter if it was an accident, it didn't matter if it bounced, it didn't matter if it was 70 mph," he said. "Somebody was getting hit, because we couldn't afford to have those guys out of our lineup."
Arroyo has been ejected for hitting a player, but he values keeping runners off base and limiting offensive threats over trying to get revenge.
"How many times have you seen a brawl in a playoff game? How many times do you see guys fighting in hockey games in the playoffs? Not that often, right?" he said. "Because you value the win over the ego -- because that's really what it is at the end of the day. It's just about pride and feeling like somebody's stomping on you.
"You hope that you have people on both sides that are reasonable and fair, so if somebody gets drilled and you drill back, then you don't hit another guy. At some point it needs to stop and somebody has to say, "OK, we're even now. Let's just play the game.'"
Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.