Masset rebounds from opener
Two days after five-run inning, reliever throws shutout frame
CINCINNATI -- Setup reliever Nick Masset's first two games were polar opposites. On Monday, Masset allowed five runs in his one inning, including a Yadier Molina grand slam in the ninth inning of an 11-6 loss. He allowed three hits and a walk in the inning, too.On Wednesday, Masset returned and dealt a 1-2-3 eighth inning that included an inning-ending strikeout of Albert Pujols. It lowered his ERA from 45.00 to 22.50. "I'm big on trying to get guys back in there after a rough outing as soon as possible so they can get it off of their mind," Baker said. "That grand slam was a wind-blown slam to me. It's still a slam." Masset led the Reds with a career-high 74 appearances last season, and he took ownership of the eighth-inning role. He wasn't bothered much by the first game. "Personally, I was kind of run down," Masset said. "I didn't feel as locked in as I normally am. Coming back to the city and surroundings, you're trying to get your feet underneath you. I felt my control was a little off and I got behind. Hitters were a little more comfortable in there. There was one hard-hit ball, and I went from one run to five runs just like that. It just made me realize there are certain things I need to focus a little more on and execute certain pitches at certain times."
Arroyo pitches through the pain
CINCINNATI -- Bronson Arroyo had a big welt on his left calf and a limp to go with it after his start on Thursday vs. the Cardinals.St. Louis right fielder Colby Rasmus delivered the pain with a line drive that banged off Arroyo's leg to start the top of the second inning. Arroyo limped around the mound and was checked over by manager Dusty Baker and the training staff before continuing in the game. Will it be enough to prevent him from making his next start? "It's probably the worst injury I've ever had being hit," Arroyo said. "I've been hit on the elbow and the kneecap and the back of the shoulder. This one really has me locked up nice. Luckily it's on the land foot. If it was on the right calf, I probably wouldn't have been able to pitch." Arroyo went on to pitch eight strong innings with one run, four hits and three walks allowed. He got the no-decision in the Reds' 2-1 win. "I've been hit a lot harder in other places that didn't bother me a whole lot," Arroyo said. "This one is killing me. It got me right in the belly of the calf. It's got my foot locked up. It doesn't want to move. It feels like a charlie-horse cramp. As the game went on, it was getting tighter and tighter." Arroyo's next start is scheduled for Tuesday against the Marlins in Florida. He has never missed a start over his entire big league career. He will be using the time between games to get treatment. "I made it through the game," Arroyo said. "I don't know how the next few days are going to be. I think it's going to be tough."
No tip of the cap to Duncan
CINCINNATI -- In October during his final start of the season, Bronson Arroyo was accused of doctoring baseballs with pine tar in his cap by Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan. Arroyo denied the allegation, and at the time, vowed to call Duncan before his first game this season to tell him he'd be wearing a brand-new hat.That call wasn't placed on Thursday. "I was going to tip my hat to him to start the game," Arroyo said. "But I'm thinking, 'Then I'm going to give up 10 runs -- that's what you get.' So I just figured I'd pitch." The Cardinals complained both in that game last season and on Monday that the Reds provide slicker baseballs to the pitchers without enough mud rubbed in. Arroyo admitted he prefers balls that aren't too rubbed down, but he does not break the rules. "It's got nothing to do with style. It has to do with preference," Arroyo said. "I know guys that have gone out on the mound and pitched with Albolene [makeup remover] on their fingers because they feel comfortable throwing a ball for a strike with Albolene. "I tend to hate the ballparks that have super, super dark balls. The stuff comes off on your hands and you have this powder all over you. I like them rubbed up a little bit lighter. Obviously, the guys on their side don't enjoy that. It's different at every park. Every time I go to Milwaukee, I want to shoot myself from rubbing up the balls. They're black."
Rookie Leake arrives from Goodyear
CINCINNATI -- Fifth starter Mike Leake was in the Reds' clubhouse Thursday after he arrived on Wednesday night from the club's Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., where he remained to pitch.Leake will start on Sunday vs. the Cubs in his big league debut. Last year, he was pitching for Arizona State University. "It still hasn't hit me yet," said Leake, the eighth overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Since Leake hasn't been added to the 25-man roster yet, he is not allowed to be on the field or in the dugout before or during games. "I'm getting my stuff done early and watching the game in here," Leake said. "It's a little weird not feeling like I'm out there with the team. Sunday will come here sooner than later."
Hanigan spells Hernandez behind plate
CINCINNATI -- Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan is often paired with Bronson Arroyo, and Thursday vs. the Cardinals was no different. Regular catcher Ramon Hernandez also got the day off after the night game.And those were just two of the reasons. "It's both. The timing is perfect for it," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Ramon hadn't caught two nine-inning games in a row at Spring Training. He's looking pretty good. We've got to keep him healthy. Arroyo and Hanigan work well together." Through the first two games, Hernandez is 2-for-6 (.333) with a walk, including a double and run scored in Wednesday's 6-3 loss to St. Louis. He led the club in hitting during Spring Training with a .424 average. Hanigan started 72 games last season, in part because Hernandez missed two months to have left knee surgery. Hernandez showed no signs of soreness during camp.
Baker meets with Ondrusek
CINCINNATI -- The morning after Logan Ondrusek gave up three of the four runs allowed in the seventh by the Reds' bullpen, manager Dusty Baker had a meeting with the rookie."I didn't see him walk anybody on four pitches all spring," Baker said.
Ondrusek walked first batter Brendan Ryan on four pitches before facing Albert Pujols, who hit an RBI single."We talked to him this morning," Baker said Thursday. "We need that stopgap guy in the seventh. It's big. We feel that he's the guy that has the tools and equipment to do it to get to [Nick] Masset and Arthur [Rhodes] and [Francisco] Cordero. That is a big spot on our team, especially if the [starter] isn't going many more than six and a fraction. The seventh is huge."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.