Masset being patient with recovery

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds reliever Nick Masset, who missed the 2012 season with a shoulder injury, isn't living or working by timetables, nor expectations of where he should be in his comeback process.

Masset is just throwing. As long as he feels good, he'll keep throwing. Currently, he is long-tossing at distances of up to 130 feet between 80-100 times every other day. In between, he's playing catch at shorter distances. So far, so good.

"Pretty much, I'm trying to build up arm strength overall," Masset said on Friday. "I've been able to throw, for the most part, pain free. It's been really good and promising so far. It's exciting to have that feeling come back. It can be a little discouraging at times. The first month or two were a little shaky. I had my good days and bad days."

Injured during Spring Training last year, Masset and the Reds' medical unit hoped rest rehabilitation would help avoid surgery. While players recovering from elbow surgeries, namely Tommy John ligament replacement, often return within a year as good as new, shoulder procedures are less predictable with fewer guarantees of success.

With all other avenues exhausted, Masset had arthroscopic surgery to repair to the torn anterior capsule in his shoulder on Sept. 7. Rehabilitation took four months, and he started a three-month throwing program in January.

"I think we're in a good position to keep excelling," Masset said. "[I'm] getting stronger, and hopefully there are no issues, so I keep getting better and better."

It's unclear when Masset, who tied for the Major League lead with 231 appearances from 2009-11, will be able to pitch competitively again. A date has not been set for working off of the mound, but it could be coming sooner than later.

"No set dates, exactly. It's so hard to say," Masset said. "I ask them and they say 'let's take it one day at a time.' We're working off of how I feel each day."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.