Masset building toward possible late-August return

Masset building toward possible late-August return

CINCINNATI -- Having missed all season with a right shoulder strain, Reds right-handed reliever Nick Masset made his seventh rehab appearance Wednesday for Triple-A Louisville, working two full innings for the first time this year. He allowed one run on two hits, striking out four and walking none while throwing 39 pitches.

Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said the club is using this period of recovery for Masset as a midseason Spring Training, and Price hinted at a potential late-August return for the 30-year-old.

"There's no way to shortcut it. You don't take a pitcher to Spring Training and over the course of six weeks give him four appearances in a game and then deem him ready to pitch five times a week out of the bullpen," Price said.

Masset made two appearances for the Arizona League Reds, one for Class A Dayton and four for Louisville, pitching a combined 8 2/3 innings allowing a total of three runs on four hits with 13 strikeouts.

Price said the club set back-to-back appearances from Masset as a benchmark for his progress. Once he satisfies that goal, which he's set to do Aug 23. and 24, the Reds may be ready to welcome him back.

"If he's activated in August, and it looks like he will be, he will be potentially taking a position from somebody that's been here who's healthy and is able to take the ball four or five times a week out of the bullpen," Price said. "August means that he's ready to do what all the other guys in the bullpen are capable of doing, and we need to prepare him to do that. That's why his progress, as good as it's been, is not something we want to rush."