Masset feels good but has a ways to go

Masset feels good but has a ways to go

Published Jun. 9, 2012 10:53 a.m. ET

Right-hander Nick Masset was slated to be one of the Reds' key setup men in the bullpen this season. But since injuring his shoulder in spring training, he's been on the shelf.

"I've been throwing for two weeks now," he said Friday before the Reds' 6-5 win over the Detroit Tigers. "The last three or four days, I feel like I got my feet underneath me. I've been working on my delivery, trying to crank it up a little."

Masset, who's been on the disabled list the entire year while rehabbing the shoulder, still has several steps to go. He's got to get back on the mound. He's got to throw to live hitters. And he's got to go on a rehab assignment.

But he's throwing the ball with authority.

"I've been working on arm strength," he said. "I still have a little soreness. We haven't gotten to when I'll throw off the mound -- maybe in a week or so."

Masset started with 30 throws from 60 feet. He worked his way up to 60 to 70 throws from 150 feet. The next step is throwing from 200 feet.

Masset has appeared in 74, 82 and 75 games the last three years. The Reds bullpen has been good without him, but they also know that a fresh arm down the stretch would be a boost.


Six up, six down for LeCure, including the big boys

--RHP Sam LeCure won it Friday with two innings of perfect relief. In the 10th, he faced both Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. "That was a big spot in the game," he said. "I wasn't sure I'd go out for the second inning. That was the heart of the order. I wanted to stay aggressive and not give them bases. I executed pitches."

--1B Joey Votto extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games with a 3-for-5 night that included a three-run homer. He's 28-for-51 (.549) with eight doubles, three homers and 13 RBI during the streak.

--3B Todd Frazier, a late scratch with a bad back, tied the game with a pinch-hit double in the eighth. He's 6-for-7 as a pinch-hitter.

--LHP Aroldis Chapman has thrown almost exclusively fastballs in his last four outings. Reds manager Dusty Baker sees no reason to change that. "Why? Because he gave up a run?" Baker said. "If he threw a slider and got beat, they'd want to know why he didn't throw a fastball. In baseball, we always feel the need to do something else. If they ain't hitting one thing, there's no need to throw anything else. There's going to come a time when he throws something else."

--CF Drew Stubbs (slightly stained oblique) raised the level of activity Friday for the first time since suffering the injury. "I did a little cardio to get loose," he said. "Then did a some core work to engage it. I didn't feel any pain."

--OF Chris Heisey has filled in well defensively for Drew Stubbs in center field. Heisey made great catches in each of his first two starts after Stubbs got hurt. "You've got to have more than one (center fielder)," manager Dusty Baker said. "Those are plays I love and I also kind of expect sometimes."

BY THE NUMBERS: 22 -- That's how many years it's been since the Reds won a walk-off game with a sacrifice bunt, as they did Friday on Wilson Valdez's squeeze. The last time was June 26, 1990.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've been going home every night for two months thinking I can still do it. Today I relaxed. See the ball, hit it. Today was a good day. -- Utility man Miguel Cairo, who tripled in the 10th and scored the winning run Friday.



--CF Drew Stubbs (strained oblique) was injured swinging at a pitch June 5, and he didn't play June 6-8. He increased his workout activity June 8 and remains day-to-day.

--RHP Nick Masset (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He threw on flat ground May 24 for the first time and now is throwing 120 feet. There is no timetable for his return.

--LHP Bill Bray (strained left groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Louisville on April 29, but he moved back to extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., after one outing. He resumed throwing May 28, and he threw a bullpen session June 1. He might be able to start a rehab assignment in early June.

--3B Scott Rolen (strained left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 12. On June 6, he took batting practice on the field for the first time since he was injured. There is no timetable for his return.

--RHP Ryan Madson (Tommy John surgery in April 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4. He is out for the season.