CINCINNATI -- Long before third baseman Scott Rolen hit his first home run of the season to start a four-run seventh inning in a Reds win over the Giants on Wednesday, it had been decided he would not start Thursday's afternoon game.
Todd Frazier started at third base for Cincinnati. Rolen, 37, is batting only .194 with five RBIs but has hits in each of his last five games. Upon entering in a double-switch for Frazier in the top of the seventh, he led off the bottom of the inning with a 429-foot home run to the second deck in left field.
"I've always said it takes an older player longer," Reds manager Dusty Baker said before the game. "I've seen it with the Yankees and different older teams. Those bones and muscle need heat. They don't need cold, wet and dampness. I'm not even playing and wherever I was hurt before is aching."
Rolen missed most of the second half of 2011 with a left shoulder injury that required surgery. He's been healthy so far in 2012.
"We certainly need him. He's a prideful guy," Baker said. "He's used to doing well and playing well. Look how well he played in Spring Training with the heat vs. as soon as we got back and it was cold. Hopefully we get some production in the meantime and keep his confidence and mind right -- as long as he's not hurting.
"There are a bunch of guys around [the league] struggling that can hit. Pitching has been good, but not that good to have everybody struggling. There will be some monster summers out of somebody because water seeks its own level and sooner or later you come pretty close to what you're used to doing -- as long as you stay healthy."
Masset healing, but still not ready to throw
CINCINNATI -- Injured Reds reliever Nick Masset didn't get bad news on the results of the MRI on his right shoulder. But Masset also didn't get the news he really wanted to hear.
That's because the medical staff did not clear Masset to resume a throwing program. He's been out on the disabled list since Spring Training with a strain inside a capsule in his shoulder.
"I got good news on the MRI. It's starting to heal up in there," Masset said Thursday. "The part of my capsule that was a little strained is healing, but it's not fully healed. For us to put this behind us and move forward, it has to heal all the way. It's going to take time. I can't give you a number, unfortunately. I was hoping to be able to throw this week. It's not going to happen."
For the time being, Masset will be limited to continuing to build arm strength and doing physical therapy.
"We don't want to have any setbacks in the future when I do start throwing," he said. "Ultimately, I don't want to hurt myself or hurt the team by coming back too early and going back on the DL. Say it was 80 percent [inflamed] before, now it's 40 percent. We're trying to get it to zero to where it's fully strong. As long as I start feeling good, it's when I will start throwing."
It's clear the Reds won't have Masset for a good chunk of the first half, but they have filled his late-inning setup role with Aroldis Chapman, Logan Ondrusek, Jose Arredondo and others. The bullpen entered Thursday with a 1.93 ERA over its last six games.
"I'm just glad we've got some other options," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You'd rather have Masset, big time. If you don't, we've got to improvise like we've been doing."
While pitching in a five-inning start Wednesday for the Reds, Bronson Arroyo reached the 10 years of Major League service time and became a "10-5 player." That means he earned no-trade rights for having 10 years of service and at least the last five with one club. Arroyo came to the Reds in a March 2006 trade.
"Now there are three things you are sure of in life - death, taxes and I can't be traded," said Arroyo, who is signed with Cincinnati through 2013.
Before Thursday's game, Joey Votto received his 2011 Tip O'Neill Award from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Votto has won the award the last two years but is sharing it this year with Brewers closer and fellow Canadian John Axford.