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."
Mesoraco still awaiting next step in appeal process
CINCINNATI -- All has been quiet on news regarding Reds rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco's appeal of a three-game suspension. In fact, a date has not been set.
"I don't know what's going on," Mesoraco said on Thursday. "I think everybody has to be available on a certain date, and they haven't been able to find a date yet. It's wait and see."
Mesoraco was suspended by Major League Baseball for a July 30 incident where he made contact with the home-plate umpire while being ejected for arguing balls and strikes. It was the same game that Mesoraco suffered a concussion from a collision an inning earlier. He was placed on the seven-day disabled list Aug. 1 and activated Aug. 9.
Whenever the appeal is heard, Mesoraco does not have to be present.
On Wednesday, Mesoraco was behind the plate as Mike Leake worked a complete game in a 6-1 win over the Mets. Mesoraco was back in the lineup Thursday to catch for starter Homer Bailey, as usual. Under a system that came out of necessity instead of design, primary catcher Ryan Hanigan catches three games in a row, while Mesoraco gets the days Leake and Bailey start.
"It's three days off, and four days if we have a [scheduled] off-day. It's a little bit long," said Mesoraco, who entered the day batting .213 with five home runs and 14 RBIs. "Whatever it is, I am not going to complain. I'm happy to be playing. I'd rather have it the way it was the first half of the season, but it hasn't worked out like that. It seems to be working in the second half with the way our record is. If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Cueto likely in Game 1, Game 2 starter TBA for Saturday
CINCINNATI -- The Reds have yet to formally name their starters and their order for Saturday's day-night doubleheader against the Cubs. However, when asked on Thursday, Johnny Cueto said he would be starting the 1:10 p.m. ET day game.
It makes plenty of sense. Cueto is 10-0 with a 1.55 ERA in day games this season. If he goes deep in the game, he would also preserve the bullpen for Game 2. While that starter officially remains TBA, all signs point to right-hander Todd Redmond being called up from Triple-A Louisville, as the club can add a 26th man to its roster for a re-scheduled doubleheader under new rules.
"We know, but I am not the man to say," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Redmond, who has been previously called up three times this season without making his Major League debut, is currently listed as Louisville's starter for Friday.
"It would make sense going into the second game with a young guy that's making his Major League debut, that we would be better equipped," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said about Cueto getting Game 1 Saturday. "Johnny still has to go out and pitch well. You just try to do the best you can to manage the game and hopefully have one guy that you know is an innings-eater. There's no guarantees. We're confident that Johnny can keep himself in the ballgame, and hopefully [we'll] be fully loaded when we go into Game 2."
LeCure looks likely to avoid trip to DL
CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Sam LeCure, who has not pitched since Aug. 10 while dealing with right shoulder inflammation, showed improvement after a throwing session on Wednesday.
It does not appear that LeCure will need to go on the disabled list.
"He seems so far, so good," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He hasn't pitched yet, but he checked out. I'd like to stay away from him another day if I could. If we keep getting complete games, everybody would be great."